Horowitz Research: Ad-Supported Streaming Gains Momentum


Almost half of U.S. TV viewers are using AVOD services at least once a month, and 28 percent use a FAST service with ad-supported linear channels, according to Horowitz Research’s recent State of Viewing and Streaming 2021 report.

Pluto TV, Tubi, The Roku Channel app and IMDb TV are among the AVOD services that survey respondents indicated they used most often. SVOD services still command a greater share of viewing time. “However, the growth of these FAST services signals an important turning point for media companies struggling to adjust their business models to the streaming environment,” Horowitz Research says. “Despite the explosive growth of streaming, linear (broadcast and cable) ad sales are still considered by most media companies to be their cash cow. This is due to the ongoing struggle to drive the same levels of revenue in the streaming environment.”

The report indicates that 35 percent of viewing time is on linear content delivered via a traditional service, while 37 percent is on streamed content, with the balance on cable or satellite-delivered VOD, content on DVRs or DVDs. Looking at the 18 to 34 set, however, 50 percent of viewing time is on streaming platforms and just 18 percent on linear. “The need to monetize TV content in the streaming environment as robustly as it had been monetized in the traditional environment is a matter of survival for media companies big and small in this new ecosystem.”

The surveyed indicated an openness to ads in streaming; 58 percent feel that ads are a fair “price” for being able to watch TV content for free.

“Consumers’ love for entertainment content—and their desire to get as much of that content as they can for as little as they can—hasn’t changed,” said Adriana Waterston, senior VP of insights and strategy for Horowitz. “The fundamentals of the industry haven’t changed. What has changed are the expectations consumers have about how, where and when they can consume the content they love, and the technology that exists to deliver those experiences. When delivered in the screen-agnostic, watch-anywhere, and highly personalized viewing experience of the streaming environment, we are seeing some consumers not just tolerating, but welcoming advertising, particularly when it is customized to their interests.”