US adults now stream more on OTTs than watch traditional TV

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Showcasing a growing trend globally, a Gartner report has revealed that US viewers in the 18-43 age group now spend an average of 63 percent of their overall TV viewing time watching on various streaming platforms versus cable, broadcast, or satellite.

Time spent on streaming TV is soaring, and media budgets are following suit as companies report an average of 25.1 percent of broadcast and cable advertising budgets going to streaming TV.

“However, the streaming services media marketplace is still very fragmented, immature, and challenged by the popularity of ad-free services,” said Eric Schmitt, senior director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.

Four of the top six streaming TV services are ad-free (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max), but 10 of the top 16 are principally ad-supported (e.g. YouTube and Hulu).

The report indicated that 80 percent of US viewers (those surveyed) use at least one streaming TV service overall, and 64 percent watch at least one ad-supported service.

“Consumers’ streaming service choices and viewing habits vary substantially by age and gender. For example, we see that younger views (18-43 years old) have a broader portfolio of streaming TV services,” said Katya Skogen, director of research in the Gartner Marketing practice.

“This penchant for streaming service variety is particularly true for younger men. Younger women, on the other hand, use fewer services but spend more hours streaming,” Skogen added.

The companies should now assess streaming TV campaign objectives, which may include maximizing reach, extending mainstream TV ad buys, or scaling performance-oriented digital advertising objectives.

“Marketing leaders must learn to navigate this fluid, high growth, medium in order to deliver TV ads efficiently and effectively,” said Schmitt.

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