Advertising spend on broadcast television (excluding political ads) fell by $34bn worldwide last year as the coronavirus paralyzed production and brands moved money into streaming platforms finds WARC, the international marketing intelligence service.
As the broadcast TV market ebbed last year, advertiser-funded video-on-demand (AVOD) services – including platforms such as Hulu, Peacock, and YouTube – saw brand investment rise by 9.9% to a total of $26.7bn. Further, projections from Digital TV Research show that the AVOD market is set to double to a value of $54bn by 2025.
Brand investment in AVOD platforms is set to treble in value in the US over the next five years, to a total of $24.2bn, with China rising to $9.2bn, Japan to $3.2bn, and the UK to $2.8bn.
The trend mirrors the evolving viewing habits of consumers: one in four viewers is spending more time with streamed video content at the expense of linear TV in the US (26%) and UK (27%), per AudienceProject surveying, while one in three Americans now only streams video content.
2020 was a watershed moment for video streaming as linear viewing eroded
Two in five consumers worldwide now have a next-gen TV – one that is able to connect to the internet either directly (i.e. smart TVs) or via an intermediary device such as a set top box, USB, or games console (i.e. connected TVs, or CTVs). Roku is the preferred CTV device among consumers, accounting for almost a third (31%) of all viewing time on next-gen TVs as monitored by Conviva. Amazon Fire accounts for a fifth, with game consoles taking 12%.
Streaming time across all devices rose to 28.7 minutes per play on average last year. Google’s Chromecast received the longest watch time at 35.5 minutes, followed by Roku at 33.3 minutes. TV sets accounted for three-quarters (75%) of all streamed video time in Q4 2020, across CTVs (49%), smart TVs (17%), and games consoles (9%). Mobiles (10%), desktop computers (10%), and tablets (5%) accounted for the remaining time.
Mobile is still king across Asia. YouGov finds that one in three globally watches live TV on their mobile, tablet, or PC, but this rises to over one in two in India (57%) and China (54%). Research by Brightcove shows that mobiles are favored over smart TVs when streaming video content in key Asian, African, and Middle Eastern markets, while Western markets skew heavily towards smart TVs.
Commenting on the findings, James McDonald, Head of Data Content, WARC, and author of the research says: “Consumers have never before had such a varied choice when it comes to how and where they watch video content, and the distinction between channels continues to blur – one in three Americans now regards YouTube and TV as analogous. Brands are taking note, with investment data showing a clear pivot to AVOD platforms last year.
“Like linear before it, next-gen TV is demonstrating the core traits of offering mass reach for resonant creative in brand-safe environments. However, unlike with its ancestor, fraud now poses a very real and present threat to the advertising trade, especially among unverified vendors.”
A landmark study of 16m TV ads lays the impact of coronavirus bare for the first time
Also included within this edition of Global Ad Trends is a landmark study of almost 16m ads aired on Australian TV between September 2019 and December 2020 monitored by Adgile, a next-generation Total TV data, and analytics industry partner. Ads were watched in real-time using Adgile’s patented visual recognition technology, and the data supplied to WARC for bespoke analysis.
The findings show that advertising volume fell 5% as the coronavirus outbreak took hold in Australia, with the travel & tourism, and media sectors most severely hit. Conversely, the health and beauty sector saw the largest increase, with ad volume up 47.2% from pre-COVID levels.
TV ad campaigns ran for longer as production was curbed – FMCG TV campaigns are now over a week longer than was the case before the outbreak. FMCG advertisers were quick to launch new products, with 15.4% of all advertising creative within the sector centered around a new product (compared to just 2% before the outbreak).
Retailers, usual adopters of value and sales-led advertising creative, pivoted to brand-building messaging during COVID-19. A wider shift towards brand-led advertising was observed among a number of product sectors during the coronavirus outbreak, though for most this made way for product-led creative as the outbreak eased during the summer.
Commenting on the research, Paul Evans, CEO, Adgile, says: “Adgile’s unique first-party brand content data, combined with WARC’s insightful analysis and reporting, revealed a TV landscape in Australia that changed significantly in composition during 2020. But the impact of COVID on TV may well be felt long-beyond this period – in reframing expectations for greater flexibility of planning and buying, and the requirement for more accessible data that enables real-time measurement and effectiveness across Linear and On-Demand – what we refer to as Total TV.”