Marketing News: Why shifts in TV viewing habits are influencing consumers to open up to advertising

Why shifts in TV viewing habits are influencing consumers to open up to advertising
New research reveals that more than 60% of British consumers are open to advertising in exchange for free content.

The results from a consumer survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Trade Desk Intelligence polled over 2,500 UK adults and reveals that brands are looking for new ways to reach viewers at the right place and the right time as the nation shifts its viewing habits to content on connected TV.

So how can businesses leverage the power of the small screen and create meaningful connections with their audiences to ensure they are reaching the hearts and minds of their customers?

Soap operas and drama
Using sponsorship of programmes has been par for the course since the advent of TV. In fact ‘soap operas’ are so called because they were backed by American detergent companies who started advertising with idents before and after programmes when they were 15 minute radio dramas, before transitioning to the small screen in the fifties.

Now, as consumers stream content rather watch in real time, the sector is estimated to be worth £2.5 billion in the UK alone and saw a major boost in subscriptions over the lockdown period as more Brits worked from home and are continuing to do so.

The issue is the soaring cost of subscriptions as research has shown three-quarters of UK households now have at least one streaming service, while more than half have 3 or more.

That all adds up and with companies clamping down on sharing logins, the streaming giants are now tiering subscriptions. Premium subscriptions tend to be based on ‘ad free’ content (see ITVX as an example). Netflix recently introduced a low cost ‘ad’ subscription which introduces adverts for the first time.

Staying connected
The survey also found that 83% watched at least 2 hours of streamed TV each day, an increase of nearly 10% on 2022, demonstrating how consumers, well consume TV, today.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) say this is because they like the flexibility of watching programmes on demand ie. when it suits them. Two-thirds (61%) say it is the choice of content that makes them a streamer, but nearly half (48%) say the reason for unsubscribing is cost.

The survey also found that half of respondents would accept adverts in return for free streaming and 41% said they would welcome commercial breaks for cheaper subscription, all of which is an opportunity for business to leverage a new advertising landscape.

Consumers also have exacting demands of the types of commercials they are open to with 68% wanting fewer ads overall and 56% demanding shorter ad breaks.

That’s why companies, says the report, should use data-driven media buying to engage with their customers and should also pay as much attention to the content if they want to maximise this new audience without irritating them.

Super bowl advertising inspiration
When it comes to content, the annual Super Bowl championship in USA is as renowned for its adverts as it is for half time musical show (with a little American football thrown in!).

It all began, as so many things do, with Apple and its 1982 cinematic commercial and has now become a much anticipated showcase where companies compete to demonstrate their creativity with content where no expense is spared.

It’s the perfect case study of what type of adverts will work with streaming audiences and whilst budgets will be lower, combining a connectivity TV media buying campaign with great content, is the way forward for brands who want to capitalise on the new TV opportunity.

Further reading:
Shifts in TV viewing habits are supercharging consumers being open to ads MarketingTech
Media Nations UK 2022 [pdf] Ofgem
How many streaming subscriptions do people have in the UK? BING