Video Essentials

50% of TV Streamers Prefer Commercials to Ad-Free Subscriptions

Concerned that the move to over-the-top streaming means fewer commercial breaks for advertisers? Don’t be: According to “The Changing TV Experience: 2017,” a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 50 percent of U.S adults streaming video to their TV sets prefer watching commercials over paying for subscriptions.

That doesn’t mean viewers love commercials—58 percent said they’re more likely to stream video because of the lighter commercial load compared to broadcast—but they’re okay with them. Also, 44 percent say streamed commercials are less disruptive than traditional TV commercials, and 34 percent say streamed commercials are better than traditional TV commercials.

The survey finds multitasking is popular, especially with a smartphone, but streamers multitask less often: Multitasking is done 81 percent of the time during linear viewing and 72 percent of the time while streaming. This shows watching streaming video is a more engaging experience than watching linear TV.

“The video streaming experience on TV has proven to provide a more engaged audience than traditional linear TV viewing,” the report says. “It presents a great opportunity to deliver relevant and delightful advertising experiences that further amplify brand messaging and create a positive brand connection.”

The report notes the U.S. has passed the halfway point, as 56 percent of U.S. adults online own a television capable of streaming video. That figure includes TVs that can stream by themselves or that use a set-top box or stick.

People who own streaming-enabled TVs watch online video often. The survey find 46 percent of those who have one stream online video daily.

In 2017, 85 percent of American adults own a regular TV, down from 92 percent two years ago. Meanwhile, 42 percent own a connected TV (up from 24 percent two years ago) and 34 percent own a video streaming device (up from 23 percent two years ago).

Breaking down how Americans divide their viewing time, the IAB finds we spend 20 percent on streamed video and 46 percent on linear programming. While traditional linear viewing is still the most common daily activity, it slowed slightly from last year.

“Ownership of streaming-enabled TVs has gone mainstream—and it’s reshaping the TV screen time of today’s consumer,” notes Chris Kuist, senior vice president of research and impact for the IAB. “One of this study’s key findings is that advertising has a key role to play in this new viewing dynamic, so it is imperative that marketers and media buyers consider the value digital video can bring to the media mix on this largest of home screens, as well.”​

For more results, download the full survey for free (no registration required).


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