Advanced Television

Analysis: SVoD players target older viewers

May 5, 2021

Ampere’s latest wave of consumer research shows how streaming services are actively targeting viewers aged 35 and over in their content commissioning strategies. These audiences have traditionally been linear TV’s core viewers, but now the SVoD giants have turned their attention – and programming budgets – to sign them up too.

This audience is more likely than average to enjoy documentaries, drama and crime and thrillers, which are now amongst the VoD players’ top five commissioned genres. Netflix is the largest VoD commissioner worldwide, and has had a highly active start to the year, with more than 100 titles ordered between January and March. This amounts to over one third of the number of titles ordered by the company over the entirety of 2020. In March, Netflix ordered more documentary titles than any other genre – over half of these were in the true crime category.

There’s work to be done to convince older consumers to start streaming

Consumers who don’t engage with VoD in a typical day are 55 per cent more likely to be aged 45-64, so there’s work to be done to convince a large portion of this age group to start engaging regularly. Ampere has classified TV viewers into no, low, medium and high users based on the time they spend watching TV or online video on a typical day.

Medium viewers watch for two to four hours a day, and high viewers for more than four hours a day. 50 per cent of medium linear TV viewers are over 45 years-old, with this group watching locally produced TV series ‘very often’.  High linear viewers are in the same age range with 57 per cent aged over 45+. They are driven by a love of sport and TV shows, with one third (35 per cent) watching live sport ‘very often’.

To persuade these viewers to become subscribers, Ampere suggests that VoD platforms need a three-pronged approach combining adjustments to genre focus, sport programming, and availability of local language content:

1. Firstly, they must continue to invest in Factual and Crime & Thriller content. Ampere’s data suggests that this shift is already underway among many of the more established VoD services.

2. Secondly, expanding the array of sports-related content on offer. Sports rights are going to be an important part of any conversion strategy. In the US, live sports is already beginning to move to some of the newer studio-backed streaming services, but rights in international markets are often difficult to justify for global players. One approach these global streamers might take is to create ancillary sports content – factual and reality documentary series around players, teams and events are cheaper than live rights, have a better shelf life and offer a draw to die-hard sports fans.

3. Thirdly, to compete with the local players more effectively, especially in those markets with historically high engagement with linear, and strong local content industries – such as France, Germany and Japan – more local language programming is needed.

Minal Modha, Principal Analyst – Consumer Research Lead at Ampere Analysis, commented: “The fastest growth in uptake of VoD viewing is now in the 35–44-year-old age bracket. Nearly twice as many in this age group are now high VoD viewers compared to two years ago. The laser-like focus on matching commissioning strategies with the favourite genres of the older demographics in question is evident, but to more fully compete with linear TV players, local language content is going to be key, as will some sports content, be it live or ancillary.”

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