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Survey: Under half of US voters have traditional TV

October 13, 2022

Samba TV, a provider of television technology and omniscreen advertising and analytics, has announced findings from a survey conducted in tandem with global research firm HarrisX.

The survey of more than 2,300 US adults who are registered to vote in November offers a window into the future of political engagement. In both ten key battleground states and across the national landscape, streaming content has overtaken traditional television as the medium of choice for voters in both parties. With one month to go before the November elections, voters report being nearly twice as likely to stream content as having a monthly cable subscription with a majority of US voters in both parties no longer having traditional linear TV subscriptions in the home.

“The story this election season is the same whether you are looking nationally or at the key battleground states,” said Ashwin Navin, Co-Founder and CEO of Samba TV. “Voters have left traditional linear television in droves. Only 39 per cent of independent swing voters in battleground states have traditional TV. With so many elections now being determined by the slimmest of margins, campaigns need to dramatically rethink how they reach voters in the closing weeks to ensure they are not just saturating the same shrinking number of households with ads while leaving the vast majority of the electorate under-reached.”

In the 2020 battleground state of Arizona, a Samba TV analysis of all linear television ads run in the final 30 days of the competitive Senate race found 90 per cent of the ads reached just the same 55 per cent of Arizona households, highlighting the critical need for campaigns to shift strategies to reach voters where they now spend most of their time.

“The data points very clearly that the future king of political ad spending will be streaming. Voter eyeballs are more likely to be present there by a factor of almost two to one,” said Dritan Nesho, Founder and CEO of HarrisX.

Key Findings:

  • A majority of US registered voters no longer have traditional linear TV subscriptions.

    • Just 49 per cent of US registered voters have traditional TV.

    • 1 in 4 of those who do still have traditional TV plan to cancel in the next 6 months, signaling an even more complicated outlook for linear advertisers heading into the 2024 elections.

    • Independents, the key swing voter block, are the least likely to have traditional TV, with only 42 per cent having it today.

    • In key battleground states, only 39 per cent of independents have traditional TV.

  • More than 80 per cent of registered voters nationally and in key battleground states stream.

    • Just 55 per cent of those nationally and 56 per cent of those in key battleground states who definitely plan to vote have a traditional TV subscription. 8 in 10 of these groups stream.

    • Battleground state Democrats are much more likely to stream video on their mobile phones (72 per cent compared to 59 per cent of Republicans).

  • Millennial and Gen Z voters are even harder to reach.

    • Reaching younger voters on traditional TV is even more challenging.  Millennial and Gen Z voters are more than twice as likely to stream than they are to have a traditional linear subscriptions today and the gap is even wider for younger voters in battleground states.

  • Social media remains a key destination for voter information.

    • Facebook remains the most used platform by registered voters nationally but has less of an impact in the key battleground states.

    • Democrat voters are significantly more likely to use TikTok than Republicans nationally with 37 per cent of Democratic voters using it weekly compared to just 27 per cent of Republican voters.

    • Younger Gen Z voters continue to stray from Facebook making YouTube and TikTok as their top two social media platforms used weekly.

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