Advanced Advertising Summit: Putting Ad Money Into Linear Or Streaming Networks Isn’t An Either/Or Proposition, Says Comcast’s James Rooke

New York – Comcast Advertising President James Rooke called the idea that advertisers must choose between investing their money in linear or streaming networks, but not both, a “false narrative” at the summit on B+C Multichannel News Advanced Advertising here on Monday, adding that only through collaboration will Advanced Advertising Technology get the boost it needs.

“I think there’s a narrative right now that says hey, you should invest money in linear or streaming, and it’s either or, I think it’s a false narrative,” said said Rooke. “The reason for that is that if you’re an advertiser, you’re ultimately looking to reach your audience, to get the maximum reach possible, the most effective reach possible, wherever those viewers are.”

In the United States, that means tackling viewers with traditional television, satellite, cable, and telecom video services, as well as cord-cutters who get video from SVOD, FAST, and AVOD streaming providers.

“If you just buy CTV, you’re isolating a lot of the population, and that seems problematic,” Rooke said.

Rooke added that while it’s clear that traditional linear television is in decline, it still represents the largest share of viewership and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

“Our view is that traditional linear television will remain the basis of a multi-screen campaign,” added Rooke. “We think between 20% and 30% of budgets should be shifted to streaming.”

In this scenario, linear television begins to falter with lighter hearths. That’s where streaming comes in, he said. According to Rooke, dollars spent on streaming results in 2.5 times better performance, adding that spending dollars on live streaming results in 2.5 times better performance in light TV homes.

“The thing is, it’s not a choice between one or the other,” Rooke said. “It’s how you better plan and manage delivery optimization across the fragmented distribution points you have that will lead to a better outcome.”

Rooke also defended the collaboration between streaming and traditional TV channels, pointing to Comcast’s recent partnership with Charter Communications for its Flex TV streaming service.

Other pearls of wisdom from the Comcast executive include:

Rooke added that he sees the biggest challenge for advanced advertising going forward is the “significant” amount of backend transfer work that needs to take place in the future. “There is a lot of work in the engine room that needs to be done to be able to bring the industry to the promised land,” he said. ■