U.S. viewers age 18-43 spend an average of 63% of their overall TV viewing time watching on streaming versus cable, broadcast or satellite, according to Gartner, Inc. In April of 2021, Gartner surveyed 2,006 U.S. consumers to understand their viewing habits across more than 20 individual streaming TV services.
“Time spent on streaming TV is soaring, and media budgets are following suit as CMOs report an average 25.1% of broadcast and cable advertising budgets going to streaming TV,” said Eric Schmitt, senior director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “However, the streaming services media marketplace is still very fragmented, immature and challenged by the popularity of ad-free services. Marketing leaders must learn to navigate this fluid, high growth, medium in order to deliver TV ads efficiently and effectively.”
Four of the top six streaming TV services are ad-free (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO Max), but 10 of the top 16 are principally ad-supported (e.g. YouTube and Hulu). Gartner’s survey indicates that 80% of U.S. viewers use at least one streaming TV service overall, and 64% watch at least one ad-supported service.
“Consumers’ streaming service choices and viewing habits vary substantially by age and gender. For example, we see that younger views (18-43 years old) have a broader portfolio of streaming TV services,” said Katya Skogen, director of research in the Gartner Marketing practice. “This penchant for streaming service variety is particularly true for younger men. Younger women, on the other hand, use fewer services but spend more hours streaming.”
To guide media investments, marketing leaders in charge of digital marketing strategy and execution should consider the following:
- Assess streaming TV campaign objectives, which may include maximizing reach, extending mainstream TV ad buys or scaling performance-oriented digital advertising objectives. Use streaming to align TV and digital advertising budgets and processes.
- Orchestrate streaming over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) ad buys with linear TV, and other video ad options. Make the best of limited measurement by focusing on practical questions, directional data and a patchwork of imperfect metrics.
- Review and adjust how data is sourced, analyzed and used to plan, target and measure TV ads. Prioritize aggregate, representative data useful for pattern analysis. Use caution with approaches that depend on cookie or data sharing mechanisms that could run afoul of privacy regulations.
Additional insights and recommendations are available to Gartner for Marketers clients in the report: “Gartner Consumer Data: Streaming TV Implications for Your Advertising Media Plans.”
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