NEW YORK: Co-viewing is as popular with people watching OTT programming as it is with linear TV and more than half engaged in this activity frequently discuss brands and products they see on screen, new research has established.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) partnered with MARU Matchbox to survey 1,223 US video viewers aged 13-64 in the United States; co-viewing was defined as watching video content with others and OTT as video programming (on demand or live) streamed to a TV via the internet, using a streaming device, Blu-ray player, gaming console, or smart TV.

The OTT Co-Viewing Experience: 2017 report revealed that 56% of those co-viewing on over-the-top (OTT) said they regularly talked about the brands or products they saw while watching content on television screens.

Moreover, brand-related multitasking behaviors were particularly strong among OTT co-viewers, including chatting on social media about the brands they had seen, conducting brand-related searches, and even making purchases online.

While more than 90% of Americans aged 13 to 64 watched programming on their TV screens with other people, the study found that co-viewers on OTT skewed younger (18- to 34-years old), Hispanic, and were more likely to be cord-cutters/nevers.

They were also likely to have a larger household, including children, so co-viewing activity on OTT is often a family experience, with a spouse or partner (59%) and kids (41%) cited as top viewing companions.

“OTT is a powerful platform for reaching younger audiences – especially the hard-to-reach cord-cutters/nevers,” observed Anna Bager, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Video, IAB.

“Brands launching cross-screen campaigns would be wise to take into account this audience’s affinity for brand-related multitasking across devices.”

In general, OTT co-viewers spent more than double the amount of time watching ad-supported content than they did on subscription services with no ads.

“Watching TV has always had an important social component, and this has absolutely continued as OTT platforms become ever-more important parts of people’s viewing rituals,” said Chris Kuist, Senior Vice President, Research and Impact, IAB.

“This social aspect of biggest screen in the house is powerful, and is being amplified on OTT platforms in ways that can greatly benefit marketers.”

Sourced from IAB; additional content by WARC staff