Member Guest Blog with IAS – IAS UK Streaming Wars: How CTV is shaping the future of content consumption

As we enter 2021, there are many key Digital Advertising trends and opportunities expected for this year. Connected-TV (CTV) is one of them. In our member guest blog post, we caught up with Nick Morely, EMEA Managing Director at Integral Ad Science (IAS) about their recently released UK Streaming Wars report that looked into UK consumer use and preferences for CTV devices and ad-supported streaming services.

Nick Morley joined Integral Ad Science (IAS) in January 2017 to lead the strategic development of the EMEA business. Nick has a proven track record in launching and scaling high-growth businesses across Europe, with a decade’s worth of digital advertising industry experience. 

CTV adoption has skyrocketed in recent years. Consumers are drawn in by the ability to watch their favourite content on devices and subscribe to streaming services that meet their preferences and budget. 

But when subscriptions start to add up, how does this impact consumer choice? What are the most preferred devices and platforms? IAS asked UK consumers about their CTV usage and preferences when it comes to paying for subscription services.

CTV and streaming on the rise

With major changes to consumer habits last year, viewer patterns have rapidly evolved. 

The overwhelming majority (90%) of UK consumers have access to a CTV device, with integrated smart TVs preferred for almost two-thirds (64%) over external box or stick options. 

Among consumers that have paid-for subscriptions, Netflix is the streaming service of choice, with almost two-thirds (78%) of UK consumers having access to the platform, followed by Amazon Prime Video (53%), Disney+ (39%), NowTV (19%) and YouTube Premium (15%).

Consumers willing to shift to ad-supported streaming content

The UK Streaming Wars report shows that viewers are now increasingly open to ad-supported video options, so the onus is on the digital advertising industry to help marketers meet consumer needs with an enjoyable experience. 

Eight in ten UK consumers (83%) are willing to watch ads to gain access to free streaming content. While over half (56%) plan to start watching free ad-supported streaming services over the next 12 months.

Contextual targeting helps to drive ad completion with over half (54%) of consumers willing to view an ad to completion if it’s relevant to the content that they are watching. 

Digital video and CTV can provide enhanced targeting and richer data insights compared to standard linear TV. As a result, almost one-fifth of UK consumers (17%) are more likely to remember ads or likely to look up products and services of ads when viewed while streaming video or watching CTV. 

The driving factors behind digital video consumption

Cost is the driving factor for UK consumers that switch to free ad-supported streaming content. Almost two-thirds (61%) of consumers want to save money and three in ten (30%) say that they already pay too much for subscription-based streaming services. 

Almost half (44%) of consumers find the ability to skip certain ads as the top reason they prefer free streaming services to linear TV. 

Free ad-supported streaming services can differentiate themselves with both price and content, offering a clear opportunity for brands to connect with consumers if relevancy and frequency are prioritised. 

You can download the latest IAS UK Streaming Wars UK research here

You can also join IAB Europe and IAS in a webinar on 16th February 2021 at 11:00 CET to explore how consumer behaviours have changed in the UK and what the future holds – register to secure your space here. 

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