IAB research demonstrates word-of-mouth marketing opportunity for brands among OTT audiences

The study suggests that OTT audiences engage in multi-screen behaviors such as discussing brands online, as well e-commerce / Rakuten TV

An IAB study claims that over half (56%) of all audiences watching over-the-top (OTT) TV discuss the brands they see on screen with others in their company, with ad-supported programming more popular than subscription-only formats.

The study – dubbed The OTT co-viewing experience: 2017 – made the above claims, adding that such audiences often engage in “brand-related multitasking” activity such as discussing on-screen brands on social media, searching for them online, or even purchasing their goods on the internet.

More than 90% of the US population aged 13-to-64 watch TV in groups of two or more people, aka co-viewing. This is a trait shared by viewers of OTT services, as well as those viewing content viewed via video-on-demand (VoD) and digital video recorders (DVR). The study also found that 36% of survey participants claimed they watch programs on both formats.

Meanwhile, OTT co-viewers spend more than double the amount of time watching ad-supported content than they do on subscription services with no ads, according to the IAB.

The study further goes on to claim that OTT audiences typically skew younger (18-to-34 years old) with such services popular among Hispanic consumers, and among cord-cutters/nevers, ie those that have abandoned typical cable TV packages (or indeed never had one to begin with).

In line with these demographics, co-viewing activity on OTT is often a family experience, with a spouse or partner (59%) and kids (41%) cited as top viewing companions, with the trade body claiming that after linear TV, more US consumers watch video content on OTT than any other platform. Therefore, linear TV and OTT capture the highest co-viewing audience reach.

IAB senior vice president, research and impact, Chris Kuist, said: “This social aspect of biggest screen in the house is powerful, and is being amplified on OTT platforms in ways that can greatly benefit marketers.”

Anna Bager, IAB, senior vide president and general manager, added that the insights generated in the study demonstrate the word-of-mouth opportunity for brands among OTT audiences.

“OTT is a powerful platform for reaching younger audiences—especially the hard-to-reach cord-cutters/nevers. Brands launching cross-screen campaigns would be wise to take into account this audience’s affinity for brand-related multitasking across devices,” she added.

The survey polled over 1,200 consumers online in October 2017 in partnership with MARU Matchbox, and was sponsored by FreeWheel, Hulu and Roku.

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