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Streaming and traditional TV reach ‘tipping point’

Streaming and traditional TV reach ‘tipping point’

Streaming is more popular than ever among all age groups in the UK, new research has found.

The Trade Desk’s Connected TV: The Next Episode whitepaper has uncovered “a tipping point” in TV watching habits, asserting streaming is now the most popular way for UK consumers to watch content.

It found 40% of UK viewers it surveyed said they spent more time watching streaming content, while 47% claimed they were spending less time watching traditional TV.

The study also disclosed streaming content reached 73% of Brits, compared to 68% who said they watched traditional broadcast TV.

Within the streaming category there were variations across age groups with 84% of 18-34-year-olds and 83% of 35-to-54-year-olds reporting they favoured streaming content over traditional TV.

The Trade Desk and YouGov found 64% of 18-34-year-olds spent up to two hours a day watching streaming content.

However, the survey also found further evidence that the growing cost-of-living crisis was impacting viewing behaviours as more than half of the UK adults surveyed (54%) confessed they streamed content for free, using someone else’s login, while many of those paying for services themselves were cutting back on subscription costs with 40% saying they would not spend more than £20 a month on streaming services.

Nearly a quarter (23%) said they were refusing to pay anything for streaming and 29% cited cost as the main reason for unsubscribing from most platforms.

Other findings revealed a positive reception to advertising on streaming services as 51% were open to a free service funded by advertising, or a less costly service subsidised by tailored ads and 60% of respondents claimed they were open to ads if they could watch an entire episode for free without further interruption.

The report similarly highlighted a continued shift to connected TV (CTV) with 40% of respondents self-reporting they were spending more time watching streaming and catch-up content on CTV than the same time last year.

The study also looked at the attitudes of advertisers to TV and streaming advertising and discovered more than three-quarters of advertisers surveyed (76%) were already advertising on connected TV were planning to increase their spend in the channel in 2023.

In addition, more than eight in 10 (88%) of advertisers surveyed said they were likely to buy inventory from a streaming platform if it offered exclusive access to live sports or other premium content.

Dave Castell, TV Partnerships lead at The Trade Desk, said: “The TV landscape is undergoing a transformation that’s redefining the viewing experience, as well as the advertising industry as a result. The rise of streaming has ushered in a new model of TV consumption, in which every content creator is providing the consumer with choice. And consumers expect to watch what they want, when they want, and how they want. This unlocks greater opportunities for advertisers to connect with new, diverse audiences than they’ve ever had before.”

The whitepaper was based on a survey of 1010 adults in the UK by YouGov and 250 advertisers across brands and agencies by Savanta in June and July 2022, which both examined the TV habits of users and acceptance of advertising.

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Matt Hill, Director of Research & Planning , Thinkbox, on 23 Sep 2022
“Please make the streaming surveys stop! I hate having to comment on studies like this because I look like I might not appreciate the growth of streaming. But I really do. It’s impressive. It’s exciting. I just appreciate reality even more. Streaming is definitely growing and this needs understanding. But no one’s understanding is helped by surveys like this. Ipsos recently completed a study called Adnormal Behaviour for Thinkbox. It demonstrates the dangers of media professionals basing planning decisions on their own behaviours, but it also shows how claimed behaviour is a poor measure of actual behaviour. Like the Trade Desk’s new research, Adnormal Behaviour featured a nationally representative survey of the UK public. Ipsos asked them to estimate what proportion of viewing time they spent watching live TV. The average response was 32%. For SVOD the figure was 36%. But Ipsos didn’t hail a tipping point. That’s because BARB data for Q2 2022 – also nationally representative, but crucially metered, actual consumption data of a much bigger sample – shows that in reality 63% of time is spent with live TV and 17% with SVOD. IPA Touchpoints finds very similar numbers (66% vs. 18%). Surveys are cheap and cheerful way of generating a press release and some numbers for a sales deck, but with free data out there – from Ofcom, BARB, Thinkbox’s own video day analysis – from passively measured or diary based sources, there’s no real excuse or need to use claimed survey behaviour. All it does is distort the picture.”

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