CTV vs. OTT. vs. Linear TV – What’s the Difference?

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*This content has been adapted from our full-length Movers and Shakers podcast, Position Your Business For The Future: The Rise Of CTV.

What is the difference between CTV, OTT, and Linear? There’s a there’s a lot of confusion here. 


It’s understandable because with a lot of these, the whole game is evolution. It’s all about digital evolution and happens so fast.

A lot of the times, when things are initially named, the names don’t apply after a few years. But the real basic definitions are linear is broadcast television and cable. So when people talk about linear, they’re usually combining those two.

CTV quite literally, if you take the literal definition of it, it’s your smart television, and the streaming content that runs across it.

So all those logos down there on the right, would be the streaming content.

But OTT is really not used as much anymore. It used to refer to the devices other than the smart TV. But now when you see CTV numbers in research, like when Business Insider puts out research for CTV, it’s basically streaming across all screens.

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