Ad-supported streaming services, aka AVODs or FASTs, are the darlings of the media world now, with good reason.
Their strengths — along with some weaknesses on the advertising front — are documented in a new report
from Verizon Media and Publicis, “Capitalizing on the CTV Opportunity.” The report is based on a nationally representative survey of 3,000-plus U.S. TV viewers, fielded between Feb.
The results underscore the reasons for growing adoption of ad-supported services.
While 71% of respondents described paid/premium SVOD as their current “go to” service, 48% said they worry about the costs and are sharing log-in credentials to save money.
Respondents reported using five streaming services, on average, with 75% saying that no one streaming service “has it all,” and 45% saying they feel they’re using too many services to get the content they want.
At the same time, 61% agree that they’re more aware of AVOD offerings than they were a few years ago, and half say they’re interested in ad-supported streaming services.
Nearly three-fifths say they'd prefer it if more streaming services offered cheaper, ad-supported subscription tiers, and 83% using paid ad-free streaming services say they’re willing to try an ad-supported version of paid services to save money.
More than three-quarters (77%) report already seeing ads across cable, live or AVOD services; 66% report seeing ads on AVOD services of any kind (free or paid); and seven in 10 say that paid, ad-supported streaming services are worth the price.
Forty-three percent say that free ad-supported services offer “good quality"; 30% agree that they offer a wide variety of genres from which to choose; 28% say they’re easy to use and have good search and navigation; and 23% say they feature “really high-quality” shows and movies.
The “but”: 39% of AVOD subscribers have considered ad-free alternatives.
Digging more deeply, the survey found many ad-supported service users frustrated and annoyed with the advertising experience.
Sixty percent cite overly long ad breaks as an annoyance, and the same percentage say there are too many ad breaks.
Nearly as many (58%) complain about seeing the same ad repeatedly during the same show or consecutive shows they’re watching.
And 53% say commercials that occur in the middle of the action of a show, in a moment that’s not a natural break in the action, are “the worst.” Which may explain why 54% of those who have both AVOD and cable say that cable ads are less frustrating.
Possible fodder for solutions for creating a better ad experience: 54% say a countdown clock indicating how much time is left in an ad break would help; 67% that they would prefer just one or two ad breaks during programming; and 62% that putting breaks only at the beginning and end of a program would be optimal.
In addition, 53% say they would prefer ads that are more relevant to them.