Advanced Television

Research: 40% free streamers increased viewing in last year

October 11, 2023

Forty per cent of US adults that watch free TV streaming services such as YouTube, Pluto TV and Amazon Freevee reported an increase in time spent viewing the services compared with last year, two-thirds of which consequently decreased the time they watch other TV services, according to research from Aluma Insights, the CTV research firm.

One-third of adults that increased their use of free TV streaming services consequently decreased the time spent watching SVoD services such as Netflix. Twenty-three per cent reduced time spent watching broadcast and legacy pay-TV services, 22 per cent decreased time spent watching virtual pay-TV services such as YouTube TV.

“While free TV streaming services are generally used as secondary or tertiary sources of content, they are putting a dent in the viewing of primary paid sources,” said Michael Greeson, founder and principal analyst at Aluma Insights. “Given how rapidly the retail prices of paid services are increasing, we expect not only will more viewers turn to free streaming services for TV content but they will spend more time watching them.”

This is especially problematic for large tech-media companies that own both paid and free TV services, as with Google, Amazon, Paramount Global, and Fox. Effectively windowing content between paid and free models is key to minimising viewing cannibalization.

The chief reasons 40 per cent of free TV streamers increased their viewing time include:

  • Free services have more shows they enjoy watching (selected by 48 per cent)
  • It’s easier for them to find something interesting to watch on free streaming services (46 per cent)
  • Substituting for pay-TV service they’d cancelled (23 per cent)
  • Substituting for SVoD services they’d cancelled (22 per cent)

The consumers segments most likely to have reported an increase in free TV streaming include:

  • Viewers over the age of 55
  • Adult with annual household incomes less than $50K, and
  • Adults with children under 18 living at home.

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, FTA, OTT, Research

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