There has been a lot of talk about how the rise of subscription TV services has diminished the reach and power of traditional television advertising.
But according to new research from international market research firm YouGov shows that traditional TV advertising is still very much alive in the era of subscription on demand services (SVOD).
Importantly, TV ads are still being seen by consumers who only watch content through subscription streaming platforms.
The Broadcast to Narrowcast report interviewed UK 2,315 consumers who fell into three categories: those that watch exclusively through SVOD, those who only use paid TV providers and those that use Freeview and Freesat.
The main finding is that while the range of providers that viewers to watch their favourite shows has ballooned, the number of adverts that people actually see hasn’t diminished that much. Even those that watch content only via SVOD still see a large number of TV ads.
45% of exclusively SVOD viewers still remember seeing adverts in the programmes they have watched in the last week, while 30% didn’t remember seeing any.
“People watch TV in different ways but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the number of people watching traditional television have fallen that much,” Stephen Harmston, head of YouGov Reports, said. “These broadcasters and their advertisers need to be realistic but not panicked about the challenge to them from subscription video on demand providers.
“While the likes of Now TV and Netflix inevitably siphon off some viewers some of the time, they are not taking most the traditional broadcasters’ viewers most of the time.”
Even though the proportion of SVOD-only users that remembered seeing adverts is well below than those who watch Freeview (57%) and Paid TV (63%), it still represents a significant proportion of those kinds of users.
Commercial terrestrial TV still plays a big role in consumer viewing habits, including SVOD-only users. 51% had watched Channel 4, for instance, through the channel’s app in the past 30 days.
Regardless of how users access TV, however, is the clear UK trend towards binge watching. 53% of Freeview/Freesat viewers and 45% of Paid TV-only viewers watch two or more episodes in a single sitting. Unsurprisingly, this number raises to 77% for subscription-only users.
Binge watching does not seem to have massively impacted the likelihood of a viewer seeing advertising. 28% of those watching two episodes in a row and 27% of those watching three in a row remember seeing ads.
“Clearly advances in technology have changed the way we view TV – and box sets are now an everyday part of television,” continued Stephen Harmston. “But what is interesting is the extent to which technology has changed the culture of viewing – you don’t have to have a subscription to binge, as shown by the number of Freeview viewers that watch successive episodes in one sitting.
“However, despite this shift in culture, box set bingers are not an alien species of TV viewer. They still notice television adverts and they are still an audience brands can go after through TV ads.”