Are Advertisements More Effective on Streaming Services than Cable?

The media landscape has seen drastic change recently with streaming platforms rivaling traditional cable TV. This raises the debate – which platform yields better ad results, streaming or cable?

Streaming platforms

Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have surged in popularity in recent years, with many consumers cutting the cord from traditional cable TV in favor of streaming content. This offers opportunities for advertisers: with the ability to collect data on user habits, streaming services allow ads to target specific demographics. For example, Netflix often harvests viewing habits and preferences to better target its advertising.

Ads on streaming platforms can be customized to individual users, which helps them connect with the brand. These platforms also have a global reach and are not limited by geographical boundaries. However, viewers tend to skip or fast-forward through ads, making it challenging for advertisers to make sure the message is seen by the target audience.

Cable TV Advertising

For decades, cable TV has been the go-to platform for advertisers, buying ad slots during popular shows or events. It still has advantages such as quick reach to a wide audience. Unlike streaming platforms, viewers cannot fast-forward through TV ads and are likely to view them.

Cable TV advertising provides the opportunity to reach a range of audiences. Advertisers purchase slots during popular programs that attract different demographics, allowing them to target a broad audience. This comes with drawbacks – like a high cost. TV advertising during well-known shows or events is expensive, making it unattainable for small businesses.


Coca-Cola is a well-known brand that has been advertising on both streaming platforms and cable TV for many years. The brand has used a variety of ad formats, including traditional TV ads and more innovative formats like product placement in popular TV shows. In 2019, Coca-Cola and P&G rancampaigns on the streaming platform Hulu, targeting viewers. The campaign was part of Hulu’s new feature where whenever viewers paused a show, they’d see an ad. The campaign was successful, with both Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble reporting a significant increase in brand awareness among viewers.

Another example is Haven Life. This is a life insurance brand that decided to work with Hulu to promote its Haven Simple product. It created a 30-second video ad focusing on the key messages of the brand and promoted its key messages in a calming and friendly tone. The ad was a success, with a very straightforward visual approach for the viewers, and generated more brand awareness.


With the growth of streaming services, advertisers have a wealth of opportunities to reach target audiences. Both cable TV and streaming platforms offer benefits and drawbacks – it is up to the advertiser to choose which platform will yield the best results for them. Cable TV advertising remains a popular choice due to its wide audience reach, but its high cost can be prohibitive for some businesses.

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