IAB Study Highlights Shifting TV Viewing Habits

People Prefer Watching Ads to Paying Subscriptions When Streaming Video on TV

People Prefer Watching Ads to Paying Subscriptions When Streaming Video on TV

NEW YORK, NY —  The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released The Changing TV Experience: 2017, a comprehensive study revealing that most U.S. adults (56%) own a Streaming Enabled TV, a 56 percent rise from just two years ago, a fundamental shift in the way that Americans watch television. This research is the third in a series that IAB is releasing in coordination with the 2017 Digital Content NewFronts, a 10-day marketplace to showcase the latest in original digital video programming.

Almost all Americans (92%) own a TV. However, today the majority of time spent (54%) watching TV is dedicated to something other than traditional linear programming (46%). The largest share of that non-linear time is spent streaming digital video (20%), which can include network TV shows, subscription service original shows, or original digital video content. The remaining viewing time is devoted to: watching programming via DVR recording (15%), Video on Demand (6%), and downloaded video (5%), in addition to another 8 percent that is uncategorized.

Among the 56 percent of U.S. Adults who own Streaming Enabled TVs, watching digital video on them became an entrenched habit in 2017, with nearly half (46%) saying they do so daily. This is a significant increase from 32 percent in 2015 (and the highest daily usage among all digital screens over this same time).

Half of Streaming Enabled TV owners (50%) say they prefer watching commercials over having to pay for ad-free subscriptions when streaming video on TV, up 14 percent over 2015. They also report, at 44 percent, that commercials during digital video are less intrusive than those during traditional linear programming (a 16% increase over 2015), and that the commercials themselves simply offer a “better” experience (at 34%, an uptick of 48% over 2015).

Multitasking on a second device continues to be a common phenomenon while consumers watch programming on televisions, however multitasking incidence is lower when they’re watching digital video (72%) than during traditional linear viewing (81%). The smartphone is the most popular second device (58% during traditional linear viewing; 56% during digital video streaming).

“Streaming Enabled TVs have changed the way Americans watch television,” said Chris Kuist, Senior Vice President, Research and Impact, IAB. “Streamed content from a myriad of sources—traditional TV networks or newer digital-only studios—is attracting people’s time and attention on the biggest screen in the home.”

“Advertisers need to follow this digital video programming trend, if they want to reach consumers as their viewing behaviors dramatically shift,” said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President, Mobile and Video, IAB. “Marketers and media buyers have packed this year’s NewFronts presentations, so they can take advantage of the increasing opportunities to reach audiences through digital video on a multitude of devices and screens.

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