Nowadays, the question isn’t so much, “what’s on TV?” rather, the question is “what type of TV are you watching?” In the last 50 years, television has gone from a three-station, living room campfire to a portable, consumer-driven entertainment medium. Much like the portable radio and cassette player transformed audio consumption in the ’70s and ’80s,  DVRs and websites like Netflix and Hulu have made television equally as transferable.

So how does the television transformation translate into media strategy?

Let’s first look at what hasn’t changed and then discuss how advertisers at the national and local level can overcome the growing pains caused by television’s leap into the digital age.

At its most basic level, television is still the best way to deliver a compelling advertising message. No other medium, save movie theater advertising, is capable of telling a story with full audio-visual capabilities to a captive audience. This is why television media continues to make up the majority of advertising spending.

Obviously, most of my media contemporaries and I believe that despite the use of DVRs or Hulu, TV still belongs in a media buy. The trick is to navigate around the commercial-resistant technologies to impact your audience. At the national level, a lot is being done by way of product placement. This simple, yet effective, method of advertising interweaves a brand with story lines to create brand trust.

At the local level, where clients often times simply don’t have the budgets to immerse their products into programming, advertising gets a little more complicated. The best solution is to try and find programming that requires a live audience. Local news broadcasts are the best way to avoid being passed over by the DVR. A close second are sporting events. When it matters in real time, you have a real chance of  making your point to an audience already glued to the set.

Another way to penetrate the television market is to look beyond the standard 30-second television spot. Minute-long ads, 15-second “book-end” ads and sponsorships are other ways to potentially bypass the commercial break routine and get your message to stand out.

The bottom line is this: In my lifetime, I’ve seen television evolve through the three-channel “Golden Era,” the  “I want my MTV” cable age, the launch of the fourth network (FOX), the satellite phase and now the digital and DVR revolution. Like its predecessors, film and radio, who felt threatened by the portable versions of their media, TV will simply have to adapt to stay relevant to advertisers. And it will. The key is to make sure you and your marketing partners have a plan to face the future and roll with the punches.