More TV Viewers Are Watching Free Services with Ads

By Marketing Charts

Kantar recently declared that “Streaming has gone full circle, once being the destination to avoid Cable TV ads, to increasingly relying on ads to drive growth.” Indeed, the popularity of so-called FAST services (free, ad-supported TV streaming services) continues to expand, according to a study [excerpt download page] from Hub Entertainment Research.

Streaming TV Advertising

The latest survey, fielded in December among roughly 3,000 TV consumers ages 14-74 who watch at least one hour of TV per week, found that 65% reported watching free streaming services with ads, up from 61% in June 2022, 57% in December 2021 and 55% in June 2021. Such services include Pluto TV, the free version of Peacock, the Roku Channel, and TubiTV, among others.

Much like original content propelled growth for paid streaming services, it’s also having some impact on FASTs. According to the survey’s results, about one-third (34%) of FAST users and one-fifth (19%) of non-users report having heard of original shows or movies that were produced specifically for a free service. Moreover, almost half (47%) of FAST users would be more likely to use a FAST service if they heard it was producing original content. For the time being, this has less of an impact on FAST non-users, though: 59% said hearing that a service was producing exclusive original content would not impact their likelihood to use it, though 30% said that it would.

Here are some other highlights from the report:

  • Given the choice, 57% of TV viewers would rather save money than avoid ads, choosing the statement “If watching ads will cost $4-$5 less than watching ad-free, I’ll almost always choose that option.”
  • More than one-third (35% share) of respondents said that content matters the most – if they’re really interested in a show it doesn’t matter to them if there are ads. That was more than double the share (16%) who said that they would never consider a TV service with ads, no matter how much they like the shows.
  • Among those who had cancelled an ad-supported TV service in the past 6 months, only 15% said it was due to ad avoidance, ranking 14th of 15th reasons.
  • Some 45% of live TV (MVPD) viewers say they see too many ads, compared to just 32% of FAST users.

Article originally appeared on Marketing Charts.

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