LONDON: Brand owners should consider a congruent approach to reach viewers of live TV and video on demand more effectively, a new report has argued.

Screen Life: TV in demand, from Thinkbox, the UK commercial TV trade body, analysed more than 100 hours of footage from 18 households for two weeks, as well as a diary study of 662 adults across 3,692 viewing occasions providing 250,000 data points for analysis.

It found that UK viewers watched live TV 90% of the time, a fact the report attributed to the live TV experience being able to satisfy emotional needs in a way that on-demand viewing alone could not.

In particular, it was the social aspect of live TV that attracted viewers, whether simply unwinding at the end of the day or sharing family time. A sense of connection and sharing an occasion with the outside world were also factors.

VOD, by contrast, was better at satisfying personal approaches to TV, such as indulging in favourite programmes or a feeling of escapism.

This assessment was supported by the findings that for 54% of the occasions people watched live TV they were with someone else compared to 30% for VOD.

Consequently, Thinkbox argued for congruent advertising, where the ad creative matches the "need state" of the viewer, in order to maximise effectiveness.

Live TV, the report suggested, met all the need states but VOD excelled at some and was used on a variety of devices, so advertisers would need to be more cautious here.

"VOD is a brilliant and treasured new way to enjoy TV, but it can't give people everything they demand from TV – particularly the highly valued social elements," said Neil Mortensen, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox.

Mortensen added that he did not foresee live TV being usurped by new platforms as it continued to be best equipped to meet all of viewers' needs.

"Live TV is our daily food whereas VOD is more like a box of chocolates," he said.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff