TV ads are still alive and kicking in the face of subscription video's rise

Stephan Shakespeare
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Streaming services are still not taking all viewers away from traditional TV (Source: Getty)

Streaming services have revolutionised television over the past few years.

But our new analysis shows that traditional TV and television advertising is still alive and kicking – even among those that only access television through subscription video on demand (SVOD) services such as Amazon and Now TV.

The Broadcast to Narrowcast report suggests that while people watch TV in different ways it doesn’t necessarily follow that the number of people watching traditional television has fallen that much.

It finds that while those watching only via subscription video on demand providers naturally have access to a wider range of programmes without advertising, they still see TV ads in large numbers.

Indeed, among viewers that exclusively access television through SVOD providers, over four in 10 (45 per cent) still recall seeing adverts in the TV they watched over the past week.

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While three in 10 (30 per cent) didn’t remember seeing any ads, this is perhaps relatively low given the advert-free nature of much subscription video on demand content.

These figures compare pretty favourably to those who only watch television through Freeview/Freesat (57 per cent) or Paid TV (63 per cent).

This means that, although subscribers to ad-free content platforms are seeing fewer adverts than their peers, a plurality still remember seeing messages from brands.

One reason for so many subscription streamers’ still seeing adverts is that live commercial terrestrial television still plays a big role in their viewing habits.

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Our analysis finds that around half watched ITV 1 (48 per cent) and Channel 4 (51 per cent) in the past 30 days, likely through the channels’ apps. Notably fewer (28 per cent) have watched Channel 5.

Our data suggests that the more classic broadcasters – and their advertisers – need to be realistic but not panicked about the challenge to them from subscription video on demand providers.

While the likes of Now TV and Netflix inevitably siphon off some viewers some of the time, they are not taking most of the traditional broadcasters’ viewers most of the time.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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