Finding that an appetite for video-on-demand services powered by ads as consumers seek escapism during the Covid-19 pandemic, research from Rakuten Advertising has revealed that the majority of TV consumers would watch targeted adverts to be able to access video content for free.
The research, carried out in April 2020, was undertaken by Qualtrics as an online survey of 4,728 adults (18+) in each of UK (1,054 total), France (1050 total), Germany (1050 total), Italy (526), Spain (525) and the Netherlands (525).
The survey showed that with access to theatre, pubs and cinemas prohibited, and sporting events cancelled across the 2020 calendar, consumers are finding themselves at home seeking escapism and this was reflected in the popularity of video-on-demand (VOD) services.
In total, 38% of UK consumers are spending three or more hours a day watching video-on-demand services, with the average household signing up to at least two video-on-demand services while on lockdown. Some 30% of respondents said they use VOD services to consume video content, placing these second only to traditional linear TV viewing (48%), and well ahead of video sites (11%) and social media (10%).
Ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD), a growing entity over 2020, was found to have gained steady interest but that audiences may not be fully aware of it. In the UK, 60% of consumers said they are likely to sign up to an AVOD service, although only 37% said they were currently aware of AVOD offerings. Also in the UK, 18% of consumers believed their use of AVOD services will increase in the next month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For those consumers that watch major sporting events, 26% said they would be interested in streaming them on an AVOD service when this was described to them, placing this ahead of all other streaming options, including pay-per-view and monthly subscription services.
Rakuten Advertising also found that as a result of consumers staying at home, people’s interactions with brands have changed; consumers are looking for brands to communicate authentically at this time. Consumers said that the brands that emotionally understand their customers will the ones that will have success after the crisis (26%). Some 45% of UK respondents said that ads that are funny, engaging, or entertaining will increase their likeliness of using an AVOD service, while 28% of respondents said relevant ads based on individual viewing habits or shopping behaviour will encourage their decision to use the AVOD service.
Looking at the broader online video environment and social TV, two-fifths of UK consumers expect their viewing of video community sites, such as YouTube, TikTok and Twitch, to increase in the next month.
“Giving consumers the opportunity to access premium, quality content for free, as well as enabling brands to advertise in a sensitive and relevant manner, is a necessary evolution of TV now and beyond the Covid-19 crisis,” commented Anthony Capano, managing director, international, at Rakuten Advertising.
“With over 50% of people globally watching more streaming services, we can create a sense of escapism through entertainment. Brands have the opportunity to be part of this great content and connect with consumers via AVOD platforms at this time. Consumers are also looking for video content without wanting to sacrifice the viewing experience to irrelevant or insensitive ads. As long as the messaging of advertising strikes the right tone, AVOD helps brands successfully meet people’s need for escapism during challenging times and creates a new way to engage with audiences.”