Almost one in five (19 per cent) Brits now spend over 16 hours – or the equivalent of two working days – watching streaming services every week, yet a quarter (25 per cent) aren’t prepared to pay for the privilege, according to findings from digital advertising technology company The Trade Desk’s latest report, The Future of TV, which reveals a growing reluctance amongst UK consumers to part with their pennies, despite almost six in ten (58 per cent) claiming they’re watching more streaming or catch-up content since the pandemic began.
With prices for the most popular services rising in the UK, streaming giants are under pressure to give consumers what they really want. When asked to name their price, just two in ten (21 per cent) Brits would be willing to spend more than £20 (€23.30) a month on streaming services – a third less than in April 2020. In fact, nearly half (48 per cent) wouldn’t spend more than £10 on streaming, limiting them to just one subscription-funded service from a market of many.
The findings show that Brits’ appetite for advertising is growing in line with their hunger for content, with four in ten (40 per cent) stating that they would prefer a subsidised streaming service, partially offset by ads. But streamers must be careful to protect consumers’ viewing experience, as consumers expect ads to be delivered seamlessly, with 45 per cent preferring fewer ad breaks and 22 per cent stating they would like to see TV ads that are more tailored to their interests.
“TV consumption is only growing but, as our research shows, the subscription-based model adopted by many providers today is fast-approaching its shelf life,” notes Phil Duffield, UK Vice President of The Trade Desk. “Appetite clearly exists for ad-subsidised streaming services, provided the quality of the ad experience improves – which it will, with the smart application of data and technology to ensure that only the most relevant ads are served. Now, it’s time for content providers and brands to lean in and embrace the huge programmatic potential of this exciting, high impact channel.”
UK consumers know what they want when it comes to devices too, with the majority (93 per cent) preferring to tune in via the big screen. Perhaps because of this, a quarter of Brits ended up watching a show they didn’t want because it was the only thing they and their partner or housemate could agree on.
It’s no surprise then that eyeballs aren’t always fixed on one screen, with half of respondents admitting that they turn to their phone during an ad break. But this is more often the case with traditional linear TV than streaming, particularly amongst young people – with 38 per cent of 18–34 year olds saying they are more distracted by their mobile devices when watching traditional linear TV than streaming.
“Although streaming services tend to attract more engaged audiences than traditional linear TV, advertisers still need to work hard to cut through the many distractions and hold viewers’ attention,” suggests Duffield. “That means, using real-time insights to better ensure the right ads are shown to the right people – something that’s only possible through Connected TV.”