How are evolving audience preferences and behavior influencing TV and over-the-top streaming strategies?

A panel of industry leaders discussed the fast-shifting landscape in “A Moving Target – Understanding Today’s Evolving TV Audience,” a conversation in the Variety Streaming Room presented by Vizio.

The speaker lineup included Mike Bloxham, EVP of global media and entertainment at Magid; Devin Fallon, director of media insights and analytics at Vizio; Kelly Metz, managing director of advanced TV activation at Omnicom Media Group; Linda Fernandez, group director of multicultural strategy at Canvas Worldwide; Natasha Hritzuk, VP of consumer insights, HBO Max; and Radha Subramanyam, chief research and analytics officer for CBS Corp. and president of CBS Vision. The panel was moderated by Variety digital editor Todd Spangler.

To kick off the discussion, Vizio’s Fallon and Magid’s Bloxham presented new research examining consumer sentiment around TV devices, services and the future of TV. Bloxham said the findings illustrated the need for media companies to develop new ad formats to more effectively reach target audiences.

“The more we can get people to engage with advertising in other ways — not simply be exposed to it — the further we’ll be able to go down the path of working out which media are working for advertisers,” he said.

Hritzuk spoke about WarnerMedia’s recent launch of the ad-supported variant of HBO Max. She said consumers are receptive to ads that cater to their interests: “They want advertising that serves those core needs for them.”

With the introduction of new streaming services and digital content, traditional TV players have learned how to get the best engagement through advertisements, the panelists said. “We faced this when YouTube’s audience was growing, we saw this when Hulu entered the market, knowing it wasn’t going to be supported and knowing that our consumers were going to spend them in an environment where traditional ads weren’t going to be placed,” said Fernandez.

The adoption of streaming audiences watching on bigger screens is a boon for marketers, according to Omnicom’s Metz. “We love big screens with beautiful ads,” she said. “That is the ideal advertising experience.”

Watch the full discussion above.