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What new ad-supported streaming TV announcements mean for digital marketers

Recent announcements from streaming giants on the intent to introduce lower-cost, ad-supported offerings are shaking up the streaming TV landscape.

In a reversal of its initial commitment to help keep its service ad-free, Netflix declared its intent to explore lower-cost, ad-supported subscription plans and partnered with Microsoft to take action. Per month before Netflixs announcement, Disney also telegraphed similar ad-supported intentions because of its Disney+ offering.

While both serve as significant shifts in it landscape, advertising on streaming services isnt a dealbreaker for some viewers.

A May 2022 Gartner survey of over 300 U.S. consumers found the majority is receptive to the thought of lower-cost, ad-supported streaming TV services.

When choosing a fresh streaming plan or different subscription tier, consumers say that cost (76%) and content (63%) will be the top two considerations, as the presence of advertising reaches underneath of the list (only 11%).

Inflationary pressures enter into play here as consumers become vigilant about their household budgets and much more receptive to the old notion of ad-subsidized TV viewing. Folks are paying closer focus on value than ever before. An excellent majority (75%) expect prices in every categories to keep to improve in the next 1 / 2 of 2022 (per another June 2022 Gartner consumer survey). Lower-cost ad-supported TV services allow consumers to include more content options with their streaming baskets without breaking family members budget.

Currently, 57% of streaming TV watchers partake in a variety of ad-supported and ad-free streaming services, while 19% only watch ad-supported streaming. Meanwhile, 24% subscribe exclusively to ad-free services, buying out of advertising entirely.

Gartner Consumer Community survey, Percentage of streaming TV users.
Percentage of streaming TV users (By kind of streaming TV services mix)

People and households with discretionary income certainly are a common target for marketers of most sorts, from happen to be automotive, financial services to consumer goods. For these many brands, one challenge is that the viewers with disposable income will be the same people probably to view streaming TV exclusively ad-free. This effectively renders them unreachable by most connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) advertising.

Also worth flagging will be the many techniques viewers dodge commercials while streaming. Included in these are avoidance measures such as for example multitasking (61%), skipping (49%) and ignoring ads (43%).

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Regardless of the ad avoidance challenges, as ad-supported streaming TV viewership swells, brands especially those seeking to reach younger consumers must keep pace by dialing up their paid media commitments to OTT and CTV.

Amid the existing media landscape complexity, plan and forecast carefully is advice, but in an easier way said than done. For just one, the streaming TV supply landscape and purchasing patterns remain volatile and definately not settled. For another, planning is complex in the first place: an excellent process makes up about a lot more than just the count of a services monthly or daily active users, or sometimes dubious universe estimates.

Media planners must consider:

  • Skews in audience characteristics (such as for example age or geography).
  • The available ad load on each network (commercial minutes each hour of content).
  • The overlaps between various ad platforms or audience universes.

The info used to create these assessments is bound and fragmented. Planning media placements and buys for just about any platform entails often-proprietary tools, ad formats, and targeting and measurement data. Bundled and hybrid linear and streaming TV commitments and guarantees a standard approach nowadays further muddies the waters.

Planning, executing and measuring streaming TV in a uniform, coordinated way across multiple lines in the media plan is really a noble goal, but almost laughably out of grab most marketers at the very least in 2022 and 2023.

A far more practical streaming TV planning approach accepts the unknowns. Instead of illusions of perfect optimization, it aims for directional accuracy and, hopefully, measurable improvement in advertising outcomes. Holdout tests are your friend!

Read next: Ad-supported video-on-demand, cookieless identity resolution, give CTV advertisers more options

Navigating uncertainties in the AVOD space

Today, few specifics around Netflix and Disney+ advertising plans have already been released. Still, digital marketing leaders can employ some foundational planning assumptions. To begin with, we realize that nearly all viewers that are available to trying ad-supported Netflix and ad-supported Disney+ already watch at the very least some ad-supported services today.

This shows that new ad-supported streaming TV tiers may start additional inventory supply but may not create a large amount of incremental audience reach. For the reason that scenario, economics tells us that the influx of new inventory supply should create downward pressure on streaming TV ad prices broadly, particularly if the brand new inventory availability coincides with an interval of paid media demand decline, linked to factors like inflation, supply chain, and ad targeting data deprecation.

Only time will tell how other dynamics pertinent to streaming TV ad planning will play out, such as for example data privacy regulations and gaps in media measurement. For the time being, advertisers that are looking to tap the energy of the silver screen to create their brands and grow their business have little choice but to navigate the uncertainty and limitations of todays streaming TV ad marketplace.

Opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest author rather than necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


Eric Schmitt is Sr Director Analyst in the Gartner for Marketing Leaders Practice, Gartner, Inc. He’s got decades of experience with data-driven marketing and advertising innovation. Mr. Schmitt’s regions of expertise include TV and digital advertising, marketing data and analytics, targeting, measurement, identity resolution, privacy, attribution, marketing data management, customer modeling and analytics, segmentation and marketing automation. He’s got broad technical, analytical, and operations expertise, and experience dealing with CMOs along with other marketing leaders at a number of the largest consumer and commercial brands. Mr. Schmitt excels in assisting to recognize and implement on new growth opportunities linked to advertising, marketing data, and analytics.

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