Cable TV Advertising vs. Streaming TV Advertising: Which is More Effective?

Streaming services have been ahead of traditional linear TV for some time now and have won the battle for viewers attention. As a result, conventional forms of linear television, such as cable or broadcast TV, are considered by many industry professionals to be on the verge of extinction.

Additionally, the number of views directly correlates to how much money can be made through advertising. As a result, advertising on Connected TV (CTV) is thriving, and companies understand the significance of this trend.

Streaming service ads are virtually mandatory today, and advertisers not using at least one of these platforms are selling themselves short. On the other hand, traditional TV ad demand is decreasing, although it is still a popular form of advertising in certain demographic groups.

What is Cable TV Advertising?

Cable TV advertising refers to promoting products, services, or brands through commercials aired on cable television networks. Cable television, also known as cable TV, is a subscription-based television service that provides subscribers with a wide range of channels through coaxial or fiber-optic cables.

TV advertising has been a popular advertising medium due to its ability to target specific audiences, regional targeting capabilities, and integration with cable networks.

What is Streaming Advertising?

Streaming advertising refers to promoting products, services, or brands through advertising on streaming platforms and services.

Platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube TV, and others, deliver TV shows, movies, and other video content over the internet, allowing users to stream the content on demand.

Streaming advertising has gained prominence as streaming platforms continue to grow in popularity. Advertisers can leverage targeted advertising, interactive experiences, and detailed analytics to deliver personalized and engaging ads to viewers.

Traditional TV Advertising VS Streaming TV Advertising

Traditional TV advertising and streaming TV advertising have distinct characteristics and considerations. Here’s a comparison between the two:

Traditional TV Advertising


Traditional TV advertising has historically provided broad reach, allowing advertisers to target a wide audience. It can reach households across various demographics and geographic locations.

Mass Appeal

TV advertising caters to a diverse audience, as television remains a popular medium for entertainment. Advertisers can create campaigns that resonate with a broad range of viewers.

Visual and Audio Impact

Traditional TV ads utilize both visual and audio elements to deliver their messages. Advertisers can create visually compelling ads with high production value and use music, sound effects, and voiceovers to enhance impact.

Scheduled Airings

TV ads are scheduled to air during specific time slots, such as prime time or popular shows. Advertisers can target viewers based on their preferences, viewing habits, and demographic profiles.

Limited Targeting Options

Traditional TV advertising offers limited targeting capabilities compared to streaming TV advertising. For example, advertisers can select specific TV channels or programs, but the granularity of targeting options is relatively minor.


Measuring the effectiveness of traditional TV advertising can be challenging. Metrics such as reach, frequency, and ratings provide some insights, but determining the direct impact on sales or specific actions is often more complex.

Streaming TV Advertising

Targeted Advertising

Streaming platforms provide advanced targeting capabilities, allowing advertisers to reach specific audiences based on demographics, interests, behavior, and other criteria. This enhances relevance and effectiveness.

On-Demand Viewing

Streaming ads can be accessed on-demand, allowing advertisers to reach audiences conveniently. Ads may be inserted within the content or played before or after the selected program.

Measurement and Analytics

Streaming platforms offer detailed metrics to measure ad performance, including impressions, viewability, completion rates, and engagement. As a result, advertisers can make data-driven decisions and optimize campaigns.

Ad Skipping and Ad Avoidance

Some streaming platforms offer ad-skipping or ad-free options. Advertisers need to consider the impact of ad avoidance behavior on reach and effectiveness.

Interactive and Dynamic Ads

Streaming platforms allow interactive and dynamic ad experiences, increasing viewer engagement and personalization.

Cross-Device Reach

Streaming content can be accessed on various devices, enabling advertisers to reach viewers across multiple screens.

Which Is Better?

Whether streaming TV advertising is better than traditional TV advertising depends on various factors and advertisers’ specific goals and needs. However, here are some considerations to help evaluate the effectiveness of each:

Targeting Capabilities

Streaming TV advertising offers advanced targeting capabilities, allowing advertisers to reach specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behavior.

Reach and Viewership

Traditional TV advertising historically provided broader reach, reaching a wide range of viewers across different demographics. However, streaming TV services have gained significant popularity, and many viewers are transitioning to streaming platforms. As a result, the reach and viewership of streaming TV are growing, making it a valuable platform to reach specific audience segments.

Ad Skipping and Ad Avoidance

Traditional TV advertising typically offers a different level of ad-skipping, as viewers are less likely to have the means to skip commercials.

Measurement and Analytics

Streaming TV advertising provides more robust measurement and analytics capabilities than traditional TV advertising. Advertisers can access detailed metrics and insights about ad performance, including impressions, viewability, completion rates, and engagement.

Cost and Ad Placement

Traditional TV advertising can be costly, especially during prime time or high-demand events. Streaming TV advertising may offer more flexible pricing options and be cost-effective for reaching targeted audiences.

Brand Safety

Streaming TV platforms typically have better control over the content accompanying advertisements, reducing the risk of ads being displayed next to inappropriate or sensitive content. However, traditional TV advertising may have less control over the surrounding content, especially on specific channels.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of TV advertising, whether traditional or streaming, depends on factors such as the target audience, campaign objectives, budget, and available resources.

Many advertisers find that combining both traditional TV advertising and streaming TV advertising in their media mix allows them to leverage the strengths of each platform and reach a broader audience.

Therefore, it’s essential to evaluate your advertising campaign’s specific needs and goals to determine which approach is better suited for your objectives.