TV spots beat web ads

24 June 2011

LONDON: Traditional TV spots are viewed in a more favourable light than ads contained in broadcast content on the web, a UK-based study has found.

Research firm YouGov surveyed 2,158 adults regarding evolving attitudes and habits covering this area.

Overall, 69% of respondents had watched catch-up television services to date, with convenience the main reason for engaging in this activity.

At present, the BBC's iPlayer constitutes the most popular available option, securing an 88% penetration for the audience streaming material.

Figures here fell to 57% when discussing ITV Player and 46% relating to Channel 4's 4OD, with dramas, documentaries, entertainment and comedy the preferred genres.

More broadly, the study noted a "digital divide" is currently discernable, largely determined by the age of consumers.

Indeed, 80% under-35 year olds had accessed content using a VOD service, falling to 62% of their counterparts in the 45 year old-plus demographic.

People aged at least 55 years old made up the major proportion of individuals yet to employ catch-up broadcast platforms.

Among contributors slow to embrace such a pastime, 34% expressed no desire to do so, 11% were unsure how to achieve this goal, and 9% proved unaware of its existence.

An extra 14% felt they lacked sufficient knowledge, and 27% thought few programmes would be of interest.

When assessing cable subscribers, 91% of Virgin Media customers had watched VOD, and 65% have leveraged the company's branded service.

"Cable TV subscribers benefit from having access to the internet on their main TV screen," Adele Gritten, head of media consulting at YouGov, said.

"The fact that so many are enjoying catch up from their sofas, rather than their PC, further underlines the existing consumer demand for connected TVs in living rooms across Britain."

Looking to advertising, 39% of people that had previously played back TV shows through an on-demand platform recalled having been exposed to ads in the process.

However, 84% agreed advertising was more memorable on live television, and 53% described traditional spots as being "less annoying".

Another 23% of interviewees utilising catch-up properties did so to cut out ads and 53% were "more likely" to choose content not featuring any marketing material.

Despite this, just 2% of the sample would pay to avoid advertising, the report revealed.

Simultaneous media use is also reshaping the ways in which consumers engage with the broadcast medium, the research showed.

A 71% majority made phone calls and sent texts while watching linear television, standing at 58% for browsing the web via a laptop and 42% concerning social networking on a laptop.

These activities are particularly pronounced among 18-44 year olds, the study stated.

"There's no doubt that internet TV in the living room rather than on the PC is coming, and that younger consumers in particular are leading the way and embracing it already," said Gritten.

"Advertising on catch up TV isn't pitched quite right at the moment and there's more to be done to take advantage of the connected TV viewers - now and in the future."

Data sourced from YouGov; additional content by Warc staff