Rough Waters? Downstream Effects from the Transition to Streaming Via Smart TVs

David Tice Consultant, HUB Entertainment Research

Justin FrommHead of Insights & Thought Leadership, Samsung Ads

Justin Fromm from Samsung Ads and David Tice of HUB Entertainment Research discussed how consumer behavior is changing due to greater Smart TV penetration and usage. Streaming has become the default method of watching TV for a large swath of viewers. Streaming audiences have also increasingly become more receptive to advertising. Another important trend, Smart TV operating systems (OEMs) are constantly upgraded and made easier to use. As a result, home screen interactions continue to grow. Home screens have played a significant role in content discovery, although TV brand is a moderating factor. Home screens have even helped accelerate the rise of FAST services. In an era of constant churn, coming up in a home screen search and having an advertising model or tier have become critical to retention. Key takeaways:
  • Two-thirds of people in all TV households use a CTV to stream content.
  • Home screen usage is up 140% due to manufacturers consistently improving the user experience and helping viewers find content.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Smart TV users spend most of their time with streaming. In 2022, 70% of all viewing minutes were streamed, and 62% of viewers spent more than half of their time with streaming content.
  • In Q4 of 2023, 64% of respondents said they would rather watch ads and save money on a subscription, up 7% from Q4 of 2022. Ad tolerance has been stable over the last three years.
  • All streaming was up 22% in 2023. AVOD was up 50%, while SVOD use was down 7%. Home screen use was up 117%, and deep link use was up 59% from 2020.
  • Content discovery occurs about 50% of the time from the TV’s home screen, and 50% from an app’s home screen. This varied substantially by brand. For instance, only 38% of TCL owners (bottom of the batch) found content from the home screen.
  • While most found shows from TV promos (61%) in the last year, 17% of respondents found their favorite new show through their TVs’ home screen.
  • Advertising to at-risk audiences on the TVs’ home screen increased retention by a factor of eight.
  • In the last two years, FAST services increased 16%, which was 6% faster than the two years prior. The number one reason people used a FAST app was, they found it on their TV’s home screen (36%).

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Big Data helps solve for Fragmented TV Viewing

James AlexanderProduct Director – Measurement, Inscape

Rich GuinnessAssociate Director, Data Licensing, Inscape

James Alexander and Rich Guinness at Inscape utilized big data to uncover current trends in TV viewing. Streaming continues to cut into linear. Ad supported platforms are growing more popular. People’s thirst for new subscriptions has plateaued. Streaming viewers churn constantly, following the content they want to watch from one platform to another. Bingeing occurs on both linear and streaming, but those who use both binge the most. In today’s environment, new streaming apps grow quickly in both viewership and minutes viewed. Even though they are still a small slice of the pie, FAST apps continue to grow at a rapid pace. Key takeaways:
  • Over the last three years, there’s been a 10% increase in those whose only TV experience is streaming.
  • In Q4 2023, 6.5% of Vizio monitored TV viewers no longer watched cable or satellite, up from 4% in Q4 2022. That number is still growing.
  • The average number of native apps or all apps viewed on CTV (including YouTube) has plateaued at 5.5. This number is not increasing, which is due to churn.
  • Bingeing occurs evenly between linear and streaming, but those who have both are doing it the most. This is likely due to when people miss a few episodes of a favorite show on linear, then hop onto the streaming app to catch up.
  • FAST apps, the “new cable,” are growing rapidly. Fifteen percent of first app opens are a FAST app, and 72% of these viewers are not watching on an MVPD.
  • In their case study, 87% of SVOD users also watch a FAST app, which suggests that viewers are willing to pay top dollar for the right content—a finding that bucks current thinking.

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The Future Shape of the Media Landscape: Predictions for Today and Beyond (Panel)

In this session, Edwin Wong of Vox Media moderated an expert panel who made predictions on what the media experience will be like in 2023 and beyond for the consumer. When asked whether SVOD was going away, Brian Further of Nielsen reminded of what people said about cable, that people would not pay for it and at its height some were paying over $200 per month. Jon Giegengack of Hub Entertainment Research said spending continues to go up on SVOD. But bundling may be a way to have people keep subscriptions longer, since the payment is simplified, and they are less likely to cancel than when they pay for SVODs individually.

Attention and Engagement Data Provide Insight into Subscriber Behavior Trends

Yan Liu of TVision highlighted a fresh study to be published in a month or so, illustrating the relationship between attention and churn on SVOD and AVOD platforms. TVision partnered with Antenna who track audience trends and their impact on subscription rates, for the study. Cross-referencing Antenna’s 2021 churn data with TVision’s aggregated platform data (from Apple TV, Discovery+, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix Paramount and Peacock), they found an inverse correlation between the top 50 shows and the churn rate. As attention increases, churn decreases and vice-versa. The popularity of any one platform varies month-by-month, depending on what popular content has been released where. When a popular original debuts, viewers gravitate toward it. But low attention viewers drop off once they’ve finished the series. Churn is the norm and unfortunately not an easy issue to solve in the near-term. However, co-viewing and live CTV content like Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football lessen churn.