Real Living: Understanding CTV viewers

Posted on: Monday 25 October 2021 | IAB UK

The latest findings from our Real Living study explore the huge CTV market. Who’s watching? How? And what do they feel about ads?

Connected TVs are one of the most-used digital devices in UK households - second only to smartphones - with 66% of us switching on daily and 53% of regular viewers watching for over four hours every day, according to the latest results of our Real Living research. 

Conducted with Sparkler, part of PA Consulting, our survey of 1,000 nationally representative UK adults and 250 heavy consumers of CTV explores how different age groups are tuning into CTV and how they feel about the advertising they are served. Key findings include: 

Both CTV & live TV are needed

Advertisers should resist having an either/or mindset when it comes to CTV and live broadcast TV. According to our findings, both are key to engage a cross-generational demographic and driving incremental reach. While 80% of those aged 55+ and 56% of 35-54s are watching live TV on a daily basis, young people are largely migrating online to watch content. 60% of all under 35s say they are not watching any live TV on a daily basis and 69% of regular viewers say that they pay more attention to streamed TV than live. 

Young people are embracing digital-first services

There is little difference in the rate of CTV viewing across age groups, but there are distinct differences in what and why younger people are watching. Among regular viewers, YouTube and Disney+ appear in the five most-watched services for 16-34s, and yet they don’t make the list for any other age group, suggesting that younger people are embracing digital-first platforms more than most. Young people are also more likely to use CTV services to access specialist genres and inform specific interests (55% of 16-34s vs 33% average) and they have become significantly more reliant on CTV apps since the start of the pandemic (73% 16-34s vs 47% average).

CTV watchers are more accepting of the value exchange

Regular viewers of CTV are more accepting of ads in exchange for free online services vs those that don’t watch CTV regularly (72% vs 61%). What’s more, among younger CTV audiences, streamed ads are seen as less intrusive than live ads, with 60% of 16-34s feeling this way. This could be because the audience has opted-in already and chosen the content, as well as the fact that CTV advertisers have the ability to make ads relevant to viewers’ interests. 

Younger viewers are advertising savvy

CTV viewers under 35 are advertising savvy and more aware of how advertising technology works, with 66% of 16-34s saying that they find ads that are too tailored to them on streaming services unnerving (vs 47% average). Conversely, only 16% of over 55s have noticed CTV ads that are specific to their interests or location. This suggests that advertisers need to beware of over-personalising ads, particularly among younger demographics.

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