Eight in ten UK consumers want ad-supported streaming content

Eight in ten UK consumers want ad-supported streaming content

Over half of consumers will watch relevant ads in full and one in five will search after seeing ads on streaming platforms, according to new research.

Digital ad verification firm Integral Ad Science (IAS) has released its UK Streaming Wars report, providing insights into UK consumer use and preferences for Connected TV (CTV) devices and ad-supported streaming services.

The report follows stay-at-home orders around the globe in 2020, when UK audiences on CTV devices and streaming services skyrocketed.

Consumer preference shifts to ad-supported streaming content

Eight in ten UK consumers (83%) are willing to watch ads to gain access to free streaming content, IAS found. While over half (56%) plan to start watching free ad-supported streaming services over the next 12 months.

Around one in five UK consumers (19%) usually watch ads all the way through when streaming. Contextual targeting helps to drive ad completion with over half (54%) of consumers willing to view an ad to completion if it’s relevant to the content that they are watching.

Digital video and CTV can provide enhanced targeting and richer data insights compared to standard linear TV. As a result, almost one-fifth of UK consumers (17%) are more likely to remember ads or likely to look up products and services of ads when viewed while streaming video or watching CTV.

Cost is the driving factor for ad-supported streaming services

Cost is the driving factor for UK consumers that switch to free ad-supported streaming content. Almost two-thirds (61%) of consumers want to save money and three in ten (30%) say that they already pay too much for subscription-based streaming services.

Secondly, almost one-third (32%) prefer to have a large pool of content to choose from. Almost half (44%) of consumers find the ability to skip certain ads as the top reason they prefer free streaming services to linear TV. Shorter ads and ad breaks differentiate UK streaming services from linear TV, with almost two-thirds (65%) of consumers stating that this makes their ad experience better.

Cross-device CTV viewing on the rise

The overwhelming majority (90%) of UK consumers have access to a CTV device, with integrated smart TVs preferred for almost two-thirds (64%) over external box or stick options. Seven in ten (70%) prefer to watch video streaming content via those smart TVs, with just over half (58%) opting for a mobile device. Meanwhile, half of consumers (50%) use their mobile phone as a secondary device while streaming video.

Among consumers that have paid-for subscriptions, Netflix is the streaming service of choice, with almost two-thirds (78%) of UK consumers having access to the platform, followed by Amazon Prime Video (53%), Disney+ (39%), NowTV (19%) and YouTube Premium (15%).

Nick Morley, EMEA Managing Director, IAS, commented: “With major changes to consumer habits last year, viewer patterns have rapidly evolved. The UK Streaming Wars report shows that viewers are now increasingly open to ad-supported video options, so the onus is on the digital advertising industry to help marketers meet consumer needs with an enjoyable experience. Advertisers in the UK are spending more on digital video and CTV than ever before as new formats emerge to become a major avenue for online advertising campaigns. IAS was the first partner to work directly with the largest video publishers to validate that video ads are viewable, fraud free and brand safe when running across CTVs. Free ad-supported streaming services can differentiate themselves with both price and content, offering a clear opportunity for brands to connect with consumers, if relevancy and frequency are prioritised.”

IAS’s UK Streaming Wars report highlights CTV usage and preferences for free and subscription-based streaming services. IAS ran the online survey in December 2020 to determine consumer use and behaviours associated with watching ad-supported streaming video content, perceptions on the ad experience on CTV, and how the experience can be improved. The survey was conducted in the UK, analysing responses from 514 consumers.

The full report can be viewed here