Advanced Television

Report: Streaming growth boon for advertisers

August 10, 2023

Omniscreen data and measurement provider Samba TV’s latest State of Viewership report, analysing approximately 45 billion hours of linear and streaming during the first half of 2023, indicates a viewership landscape marked by opportunities for audiences to consume OTT content, consisting of newly-rolled out AVoD options from streaming leaders Disney+ and Netflix, as well as the growth of free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) options.

“Advertisers should look to fully embrace these platforms, which present a better way to reach younger and more diverse audiences, over half of which do not watch traditional cable television,” suggests Samba TV.

“Ad-supported video presents a major growth opportunity,” advises Ashwin Navin, Samba TV CEO and co-founder. “The data clearly shows that consumers are embracing lower-cost, ad-supported streaming options that leverage advanced targeting to deliver maximum value for advertisers. As audiences shift to streaming, smart advertisers are optimising frequency and measuring impact to reach the right consumers efficiently.”

The report sheds further light on television viewership changes, which include:

  • Traditional linear television reach remains steady year-over-year, but streaming viewership continues to rise.
  • The average daily reach of linear television increased slightly during the first half of 2023, with about 57 million US households tuning in each day. Despite fluctuations year-over-year, this pace isn’t expected to hold as more and more live sporting events and news programming shifts to streaming, where the majority of younger Americans spend their time.
  • Meanwhile, during this same time period, 96 million US households watched OTT content, with over three quarters (77 per cent) of US adults streaming.
  • OTT and linear consumption each peaked in January followed by February declines. Linear was boosted by one of its main drivers, live sports. Seven out of the top 10 most watched programmes of the half were NFL Playoffs games that occurred in January.
  • Six months after streaming leaders unveiled ad-supported tiers, data shows a strong link between binge-watching and audience retention.
  • Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of US adults identify as binge-watchers, and those viewers turned out for the 2023 slate of bingeable shows, with an average of 47 per cent of households watching the whole season of the top bulk-release shows within the first five days.
  • While Netflix and Disney+ were the top two platforms in audience stickiness, the majority of streamers increased their retention of audiences in spite of declining reach in the first half of the year. Netflix posted the largest gains in households watching multiple programmes across the streamer with a 19 per cent increase from the last half, followed by Paramount+ at 14 per cent.
  • Streaming platforms such as Netflix are offering a glimpse into how live entertainment content will fare streamed. Six in 10 Netflix and Disney+ subscribers would watch live events if those services offered more of them.
  • Despite drama making up just 8 per cent of programming spend for global streamers, the genre made up more than 50 per cent of the top 50 streaming shows of the first half of the year. Rounding out the top three with over a quarter of the most-watched shows each were thrillers and comedies, typically accounting for drawing the first and third largest portions of original content spend respectively. Crime and docu-style programming, however, came in fourth and fifth, meaning that while these mainstays for original content are still yielding strong viewership, investing in dramas may yield larger audiences.
  • Growing AVoD and FAST services present unique and innovative opportunities for advertisers.
  • More AVoD offerings by the likes of Netflix and Disney+ are contributing to consumers opting to watch three or four services as opposed to one or two. One in four premium SVoD subscriptions were ad-supported in 2023.
  • Throughout the first half of the year, about half of households watched two or less streaming services, while the majority watched three or less. Despite limitless options of content to watch across platforms, people remain unlikely to watch more than a few services over the course of a six-month period.
  • With 90 per cent of streamers watching AVoD, and further FAST and AVoD offerings coming to market, this number is likely to continue to grow over the coming months.
  • Harder to reach younger audiences are embracing these new options. Sixty-five per cent of millennials would consider subscribing to a discounted streaming service if it meant watching ads, while 32 per cent of millennials subscribe to FAST services.
  • With consumers looking to cut costs and limit the number of paid services they subscribe to, FAST becomes more and more appealing to Americans, with one in three US streamers subscribe to FAST services.
  • While linear television over-saturates audiences with redundant ads, advertisers should deploy an omniscreen approach to their strategy that embraces new creative such as QR codes to connect with multitasking audiences.
  • Half of TV viewers who consume the most linear TV are seeing the vast majority of ads (92 per cent), while the other half of TV viewers are seeing just 8 per cent of ad impressions. This means half of Americans were underreached or not reached at all, while the other half were bombarded by over 150 TV ads daily, driving ad fatigue among the overexposed.
  • Overexposing audiences poses risks to audiences, with 62 per cent of people saying it takes only two-to-five repeated viewings of the same ad in a month-long period to worsen their perception of the brand.
  • Almost all Americans (eight in 10) are plugged into another device while also sitting in front of the biggest screen in the home. One in five US adults have made purchases through QR codes shown on a TV ad.

“Streaming leaders have responded to consumer demand for greater choice and flexibility,” says Navin. “Customisable, ad-supported tiers allow viewers to access desirable content on their own terms. Our insights reveal a strong correlation between binge-watching and subscriber retention. Live sports streaming will further accelerate industry growth. The future lies in using data to give consumers affordable options while delivering shareholder value.”


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