Streaming with loyalty? Samsung Ads find modern viewers are app-agnostic

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New analysis of Smart TV behaviours reveals it’s more than just the tightening of consumer wallets that is driving the rise in ad-funded streaming

New analysis of Smart TV behaviours reveals it’s more than just the tightening of consumer wallets that is driving the rise in ad-funded streaming

In the latest edition of its ‘Behind the Screens’ insights series, Samsung Ads reveals how the increased ease of discoverability and app “surfing” are driving new Smart TV behaviours, signalling the end of a decade long ad-free TV streaming experience.

Viewers surfing an app-based wave

During the first half of this year, there were more than 7.1bn app opens on Samsung Smart TVs in the EU5, 1.7bn of which were in the UK. This represents a +3% MoM growth in the UK, signaling a growing shift towards app-based TV viewing.

The rise in streaming, both exclusively and through a combination with linear viewing, is showing no sign of slowing down with 84% of Samsung TV owners now streaming (+11% YoY). In September 2023 alone, exclusive streamers averaged 81 hours per TV per month!

On Samsung devices, viewers were creatures of habit when it comes to app usage. Looking strictly at app-based TV, 14% of devices use the same app, every day or every time they turn on the TV. The average device regularly uses two subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, one advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) service and one broadcast video-on-demand (BVOD) service.

FAST grows while SVOD plateaus

When looking at total time spent viewing, ad-funded streaming saw 18% year-on-year growth, with FAST in particular growing by 32%. BVOD takes up less time overall on devices but has seen strong growth of 24%.

SVOD is still by far the highest app category by adoption, with 87% of streamers accessing this content type. SVOD also dominates overall time spent but has seen the slowest growth compared to other VOD types, at 7%, suggesting less headroom.

AVOD is for anytime

Peak prime-time TV was dominated by linear, BVOD and SVOD, highlighting their prominence within the nation's households. However, our behaviour with AVOD was strikingly different. Daily peak hours for BVOD, SVOD and linear all sat around 8pm - 10pm, whereas AVOD peaked during 6-8pm and was consistently used throughout the day, during which time the trio were less prominent. Gaming also dominated late-night over the weekend - mirroring SVOD trendlines.

Ad-free or ads with fee

One of the biggest changes in the last 12 months has been the introduction of ads to subscription platforms, as services rethink strategies to appeal to a wider set of more cost-conscious viewers. This month Netflix announced that its ad-supported tier now accounts for 15 million subscribers, 30% of its overall subscriptions, while other paid streaming services revealed that ad-supported plans are already proving more lucrative per user than a pure subscription play.

This works for customers, with GWI finding that 54% of customers cancel subscriptions due to cost, and 39% because of paying for too many services.The appeal of ads continues to grow, with over half of UK consumers saying they don’t mind watching ads in return for free content (76%) - and that appetite would be even higher if fees were reduced further.

“TV is still TV and viewers love to enjoy great content, but how they get to that content has changed drastically,” said Matt Bryan, Director of Analytics & Insights, Samsung Ads Europe. “With SVOD reaching maturity, app-based viewing now dictates how we make decisions on what content to watch and AVOD and FAST are seeing a significant shift here too. The challenge for apps now is to attract new viewers and prevent churn. Leveraging key insights such as these will be what sets apps apart and bolster their capabilities in such a crowded and competitive market.”

Alex Hole, Vice President and General Manager, Samsung Electronics Europe, also added: “In this (re)emerging ad-funded era, it’s clear that cost and content prevail. After a decade of ad-free streaming, it’s encouraging to see platforms shifting their focus on drawing in the widest audience by catering to all wallet sizes and addressing all wants and needs. With the rise of TV app based viewing, behaviour is becoming even more complex within TV - making it important to factor in these growing streaming audiences”.

Download the full report here.