Viewers of international TV channels are more diverse than advertisers have previously assumed, according to new research which debunks the notion that only high-income consumers are watching.

A study by the International Television Research Group (inTV), a co-operative group of independent channels, and market research company GlobalWebIndex compared frequent viewers of international TV channels (including BBC News, Bloomberg Television, CNBC, CNN, Euronews, Eurosport, France 24, National Geographic Channel, Sky News and TV5Monde) with non-viewers across a wide range of data points.

And it found 112.5m consumers who are frequent consumers (defined as defined as internet users aged 16-64 who watch any of the international TV channels at least twice a week), but who fall outside of the top income segment that advertisers usually target through ad campaigns on international TV channels.

The desire to watch international TV is driven by a state of mind rather than income levels alone, the study said; frequent viewers display similar behaviours irrespective of income and look very different to non-viewers.

They are more career-orientated and aspirational, for example, and frequent viewers were seen to be twice as likely as non-viewers to buy the products they saw advertised, regardless of income.

All frequent viewers were also considerably more likely to value premium brands than non-viewers: 60% of affluent frequent viewers and 45% of those outside the top income segment tend to buy the premium version of a product, compared to 40% for the wealthiest non-viewers.

As well as TV, frequent viewers consume more social media, radio, music streaming, online TV, online press and print than their non-viewer counterparts.

And what is particularly interesting for advertisers, the study noted, is that frequent viewers are more purpose-driven when they engage with media channels; for example, they are less likely than non-viewers to simply log into Facebook without posting or commenting – they are active participators.

Sonia Marguin, Chair of the inTV Group and Head of Research at Euronews, described the findings as “eye-opening”.

“We can now see that there is huge potential for other premium brands who are looking for highly active consumers, but who had seen international TV channels as the bastion for top-end luxury brands before,” she said.

Sourced from inTV; additional content by WARC staff