A report from digital ad verification specialist Integral Ad Science (IAS), suggests that consumer preference is shifting to ad-supported streaming content.
The report, UK Streaming Wars, provides insights into UK consumer use and preferences for Connected TV (CTV) devices and ad-supported streaming services, and comes in the wake of stay-at-home orders around the globe in 2020, when UK audiences on CTV devices and streaming services skyrocketed.
Eight in ten UK consumers (83 per cent) are willing to watch ads to gain access to free streaming content, IAS found. While over half (56 per cent) plan to start watching free ad-supported streaming services over the next 12 months.
Around one in five UK consumers (19 per cent) usually watch ads all the way through when streaming. Contextual targeting helps to drive ad completion with over half (54 per cent) of consumers willing to view an ad to completion if it is relevant to the content that they are watching.
Digital video and CTV can provide enhanced targeting and richer data insights compared to standard linear TV. As a result, almost one-fifth of UK consumers (17 per cent) are more likely to remember ads or likely to look up products and services of ads when viewed while streaming video or watching CTV.
Cost is the driving factor for UK consumers who switch to free ad-supported streaming content. Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of consumers want to save money and three in ten (30 per cent) say that they already pay too much for subscription-based streaming services.
Secondly, almost one-third (32 per cent) prefer to have a large pool of content to choose from. Almost half (44 per cent) of consumers find the ability to skip certain ads as the top reason they prefer free streaming services to linear TV. Shorter ads and ad breaks differentiate UK streaming services from linear TV, with almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of consumers stating that this makes their ad experience better.
The overwhelming majority (90 per cent) of UK consumers have access to a CTV device, with integrated smart TVs preferred for almost two-thirds (64 per cent) over external box or stick options. Seven in ten (70 per cent) prefer to watch video streaming content via those smart TVs, with just over half (58 per cent) opting for a mobile device. Meanwhile, half of consumers (50 per cent) use their mobile phone as a secondary device while streaming video.
Among consumers who have paid-for subscriptions, Netflix is the streaming service of choice, with almost two-thirds (78 per cent) of UK consumers having access to the platform, followed by Amazon Prime Video (53 per cent), Disney+ (39 per cent), NOW TV (19 per cent) and YouTube Premium (15 per cent).
“With major changes to consumer habits last year, viewer patterns have rapidly evolved,” advises Nick Morley, EMEA Managing Director, IAS. “The UK Streaming Wars report shows that viewers are now increasingly open to ad-supported video options, so the onus is on the digital advertising industry to help marketers meet consumer needs with an enjoyable experience. Advertisers in the UK are spending more on digital video and CTV than ever before as new formats emerge to become a major avenue for online advertising campaigns. IAS was the first partner to work directly with the largest video publishers to validate that video ads are viewable, fraud free and brand safe when running across CTVs. Free ad-supported streaming services can differentiate themselves with both price and content, offering a clear opportunity for brands to connect with consumers, if relevancy and frequency are prioritised.”
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