Consumers Embracing More Ad-Supported Streaming Video

76% willing to sit through ads for free streaming video
A woman enjoying her streaming services

As homebound consumers turn to streaming video services during the COVID-19 crisis, a recent survey suggests that many are looking for ways to pay less for their usage.

Digital advertising company Integral Ad Science (IAS) conducted a survey of 1,270 adults about their streaming video habits and found that streaming services are continuing to grow in popularity. However, as more and more consumers look to streaming video for their entertainment needs, many seem to be tiring of the subscription model.

Video streaming services have become a common fixture in households in recent years. Many looked to streaming video services as a way to cut the cord on expensive cable television packages.

In fact, 83% of respondents reported having access to at least one paid video streaming service and an average of 2.7 services in all, the IAS survey found. The popularity of such services is unlikely to change in the near future. With people around the world being ordered to stay home in recent weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a number of streaming services are even offering free trials to give consumers something to do while stuck inside.

The decline of the subscription model

However, unlike regular television programming, which is free and supported by revenue from advertising, streaming services generally come with a cost. Subscriptions to such services have been the typical way for consumers to pay for them. For example, Netflix subscriptions range from $8.99 to $15.99 per month.

But the cost isn’t sitting well with all consumers. More than three-quarters of respondents — 76% — said they would be willing to sit through ads in order to watch free streaming video. Some respondents are willing to take it further, with 55% saying they plan to switch to free video streaming services in the next 12 months. Also, 64% of respondents said they don’t plan to add any new streaming services in the next year.

While consumers can stream video through such devices as smartphones and tablets, most people view their streaming content through a connected TV (CTV). In fact, 88% of respondents said they have access to a CTV. Among adults between the ages of 18-44, 91% have access to a CTV. On top of that, 80% stream content using a CTV and more than half — 59% — said a CTV is their primary method of watching streaming video.

The survey also looked at which streaming services consumers were most likely to subscribe to. Netflix was the most popular, with 79% currently subscribed to the service. That was followed by:

  • Amazon Prime, with 68% subscribed
  • Disney, with 38% subscribed
  • Hulu, with 35% subscribed

Just as many consumers saved money on cable by subscribing to video streaming services, many are looking for ways to cut costs even more. Sitting through advertisements when watching streaming services is an easy way to pare down your budget. There may also be other ways to save money such as by bundling services.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.