LONDON: The way people watch TV is changing, with growing use of SVOD and pay TV alongside free-to-air services, but TV ads are still viewed in large numbers, new research suggests, even by those who only watch TV through subscription streaming platforms.

Researcher YouGov surveyed 2,315 adults in Britain for its Broadcast to Narrowcast report which divided the viewing public into specific groups based on how they access television content – whether exclusively through SVOD, only through paid TV providers or just via Freeview and Freesat.

This found that 45% of those who only access TV through SVOD providers still recalled seeing adverts in the television they had watched on during the previous past week, while 30% didn’t remember seeing any ads.

While the proportion of SVOD-only users that remembered seeing adverts is less than those who only watch through Freeview/Freesat (57%) or paid TV (63%), it is not as far behind as might be anticipated, YouGov said.

Subscribers to ad-free content platforms may be seeing fewer adverts than their peers, but “a plurality still remember seeing messages from brands”.

The data also show that live commercial terrestrial television still plays a big role in people’s viewing habits, even those who only watch TV through subscription streaming services: around half had watched ITV 1 (48%) and Channel 4 (51%) through the channels’ apps in the past 30 days, but rather fewer (28%) had watched Channel 5.

“[Commercial] broadcasters and their advertisers need to be realistic but not panicked about the challenge to them from subscription video on demand providers,” said Stephen Harmston, Head of YouGov Reports.

“While the likes of Now TV and Netflix inevitably siphon off some viewers some of the time, they are not taking most the traditional broadcasters’ viewers most of the time.”

Advertisers are also able to avail themselves of new technology, such as that offered by GroupM company Finecast, launched today, which allows them to precision-target viewers across multiple on demand, linear and live streaming TV environments, through a single access point with standardised measurement.

“Finecast opens the door for new advertisers who haven’t used TV before, and it gives traditional TV advertisers new ways to use the medium,” said Kelly Clark, Global Chief Executive Officer, GroupM.

“This represents tremendous upside for TV broadcasters.”

Sourced from YouGov, GroupM; additional content by WARC staff