The Benefits of Cable TV Advertising for Small Businesses

Although plenty of Americans have cut the cord in recent years, and the rapid growth of streaming platforms has dramatically shifted the digital advertising landscape, cable TV still has a place in the marketing mix for small business owners.

Cable TV provides a broad audience reach and allows businesses to target consumers within specific geographic regions and demographics. In this article, we’ll show you some key benefits of cable TV advertising, even in an on-demand, streaming-based landscape.

Cable TV vs. Streaming: What’s the difference?

Cable TV and streaming services are two distinct ways of delivering television content to viewers. While both platforms offer access to various shows, movies, and live events, there are some fundamental differences between them in terms of technology, content delivery, pricing, and user experience.

1. Technology

  • Cable TV: Cable television relies on a physical cable infrastructure to transmit video signals from content providers to viewers’ homes. It requires a cable box or receiver to decode and display the content on the TV.
  • Streaming: Streaming services deliver content over the internet through Connected TV devices and over-the-top (OTT) services, allowing viewers to access video content on-demand through various devices such as smart TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, and streaming media players.

2. Content Delivery

  • Cable TV: With cable TV, viewers typically receive a pre-set lineup of channels and programming, which is broadcast according to a predetermined schedule. This means that viewers need to tune in at specific times to watch their favorite shows or record them for later viewing.
  • Streaming: Streaming services offer on-demand access to content, allowing users to watch shows and movies whenever they want. Some streaming platforms also provide live TV options, enabling viewers to watch real-time broadcasts of news, sports, and other events.

3. Pricing and Subscription Models

  • Cable TV: Cable TV subscriptions usually involve a monthly fee, which can vary depending on the package and number of channels included. Additional charges for premium channels, DVR capabilities, and multiple devices or rooms may apply.
  • Streaming: Streaming services typically operate on a subscription-based model, with monthly fees ranging from relatively low-cost options to more premium offerings. Some platforms, like Netflix, offer tiered pricing based on video quality and the number of simultaneous streams allowed. Other streaming services, such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, offer lower-cost ad-supported options.

4. User Experience

  • Cable TV: Cable TV offers a more traditional viewing experience, with viewers flipping through channels to find content and adhering to broadcast schedules. The user interface varies depending on the cable provider and may include features like channel guides, DVR functionality, and on-demand libraries.
  • Streaming: Streaming platforms provide a more personalized and flexible viewing experience, with users able to browse extensive content libraries, create watchlists, and receive recommendations based on their viewing habits. The user interface is generally more modern and intuitive, with features like autoplay, subtitles, and multiple user profiles.

5 Essential Benefits of Cable TV Advertising

Even when comparing CTV vs. OTT and their benefits, neither platform does it all. Here’s why cable TV could still play a vital role in your small business ad strategy:

1. Localized Reach

If you own a small local business (e.g., a retail store, restaurant, or service provider) and need to target potential customers within a specific geographic area (e.g., city or state), cable TV advertising offers the most efficient way to reach them.

Cable providers like Comcast provide geographically targeted ad buys that enable you to create campaigns tailored for particular neighborhoods, cities, or regions.

2. Good for Raising Awareness

If you’re running a marketing campaign that doesn’t rely on specific conversions, cable TV provides an ideal platform to build top-of-the-mind awareness among your target audience.

Cable TV ads are typically seen by a broad and diverse range of viewers, so you can reach potential customers across the entire sales funnel.

This ad strategy works particularly well if you’re selling a generalized product that multiple different customer segments can use.

Physical product examples include food and beverage items, clothing, home appliances, and electronics.

3. Complements Digital Advertising

Cable TV as an advertising platform is also well-suited for complementing digital, with the two mediums working together to deliver a more effective and efficient result.

You can use cable TV to build awareness of your brand or product and direct viewers to online landing pages for further engagement. This helps you drive traffic to your website, track conversions, and measure ROI from your overall ad strategy.

4. Targets Older Viewers

81% of those aged 65 and over still rely on cable for their entertainment, making it the ideal choice for businesses targeting older consumers.

Cable networks also typically have more elderly-oriented programming and content, so you can target those viewers with ads that are more relevant to their interests.

5. Cost Efficiency

Cable TV advertising isn’t just an effective marketing strategy. It’s also highly cost-effective compared to other mediums like radio, outdoor advertising, and even digital.

Depending on the cable provider you choose and your ad budget, you can get a lot of reach for relatively little money—which is great news for small businesses with tight marketing budgets.

Final Thoughts

Even in the age of streaming and on-demand everything, cable TV advertising still offers a great opportunity for small businesses to reach their target audience. Whether you’re looking to raise brand awareness or drive conversions, cable TV provides an efficient and cost-effective way to do it. With the right strategy in place, you can maximize your ROI and get the most out of your ad budget.

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