Video Content Consumption Is Changing: What Advertisers Can Expect from College Basketball’s Big Tournament


With college basketball’s Big Tournament on the horizon, there’s a palpable sense of electricity in the air — the kind that beams out of routers and into TVs and devices across the globe. That’s because now, more than ever, consumers are cutting the cable cord in favor of apps, browser-based viewing, and internet-connected televisions as marketers integrate over-the-top, or OTT, advertising into their vernacular.

Millions of consumers have already ditched their traditional cable subscriptions, so it should come as no surprise that online and multichannel advertising are expected to account for nearly a third of all TV spending by 2021. On top of that, the 2017 event was the most-watched college basketball tournament in more than two decades, thanks in large part to the more than 69 million live streams it garnered in the first two rounds alone — a 24% increase over the previous year. Given this increased adoption of connected devices — not to mention the fact that a good chunk of tournament games take place on weekdays, when many people are away from home — it’s a trend that is certain to continue through this year’s event.

What does that mean for marketers? Well, let’s just say if OTT advertising were a basketball team, it’d be soaring up the rankings. The changing landscape of how consumers view television content is already influencing how television ad inventory is traded, and the proliferation of content creation on streaming channels is influencing the need to monetize that content. In 2018 and beyond, significantly more OTT and CTV inventory will be bought and monetized programmatically — offering advertisers the ability to not just reach a growing audience, but to personalize the experience through all the benefits programmatic advertising has to offer.

For example, a national TV ad buy might not make sense for a local sporting goods outlet in Durham, North Carolina. But with programmatic OTT/CTV, that business can laser-focus on a unique group of consumers and deliver localized OTT video ads to them across any number of streaming devices. On the other hand, a national retailer could do the same across many different markets, tailoring the messaging or promotions to that particular region. Furthermore, OTT ads offer increased functionality over traditional TV ads, effectively combining the impact of TV with the precision of digital. They’re also unskippable during live events, meaning more opportunity to connect with a highly targeted, and thus more receptive, audience.

OTT advertising, while in its infant stages, is already here in a big way — and it will only become more central to marketing initiatives in the coming years. By pairing the increased adoption of connected TV with the revelatory targeting capabilities of programmatic, advertisers have an unprecedented opportunity to reach a precise audience with highly targeted video advertising that fits their businesses’ individualized marketing needs. is prepared to seize this opportunity, and we’re already hard at work setting up our clients’ OTT campaigns for the Big Tournament. To learn more about how your business can take advantage, reach out to us at