NewFronts has always been about adapting to the changing media landscape—and this year is no exception. The much-anticipated event was virtual-only, bringing digital heavy-hitters together to share insights, ideas, and inspiration about the changing state of the advertising industry. Kicking off day one, Samsung Ads revealed eye-opening research on evolving viewership trends and viewing behavior—along with insightful commentary on what these shifts mean for media planners moving forward.
Our livestream, “Behind the Screens,” was led by Justin Evans, Global Head of Analytics & Insights. Justin unveiled three key revelations in viewer trends, with data drawn from more than 50 million smart TVs—the largest source of TV data in the U.S. Justin was joined by T.S. Kelly, SVP Head of Impact for Carat, who shared best practice thoughts on the future of performance measurement.
The main takeaway? The Age of Streaming has officially arrived—and the numbers tell the story.
Streaming Finally Reaches its Tipping Point
We all knew it was coming—streaming finally surpassed linear in terms of viewership, representing 51% of all TV viewership minutes in Q4 of 2019. But what’s even more interesting is that in Q1 of 2020, these trends accelerated, with streaming accounting for 58% of all TV viewership minutes. Streaming was already on the fast track to dominance, and that track just got much faster.
The data shows that streaming is upending even the most entrenched linear viewer behaviors. Primetime is historically linear’s stronghold. But streaming now accounts for the majority of minutes watched during primetime hours—boasting a +9 point share gain in primetime during Q1.
And once viewers start streaming, they don’t stop. Unlike linear, streaming has retained nearly all of its lift this year so far (at +127%, down just -4% since the end of Q1). The message to media planners is clear: Viewers love streaming.
The Surprising Split Between Linears and Streamers
Another key insight Justin revealed was that the vast majority of linear is watched by a relatively small group of viewers. Calling this group “Heavy Linears,” he showed that 86% of all linear time could be attributed to just 26% of viewers. The other 74% of viewers, dubbed “Mostly Streamers,” are only watching 14% of the linear, and spending almost all of their time in the streaming environment.
Understanding this clear split in video viewing is fundamentally changing how advertisers navigate the dynamic video ecosystem. Specifically, media planners and brands must rethink their strategies to ensure they reach the “Mostly Streamers” who are currently not seeing their linear ads.
Good News About AVOD—Viewers are Tuning In
In the realm of streaming, SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) reigned supreme just two short years ago. But within the last 6 months, AVOD (Ad-Supported Video on Demand) has become quite the contender: In Q4 2019, 75% of streamers accessed AVOD, up 25% over Q3. Already, AVOD is nearing parity with SVOD in terms of time spent.
Why the high growth rate? Quite simply, because AVOD is free and lowers the barriers to entry. Media planners need to keep an eye on AVOD as it approaches parity with SVOD.
From Audiences to Outcomes: New Ways to Measure Impact
Identifying the trends is only half the story. The other half is using those insights to drive measurable reach, engagement, and conversion. And to speak to those challenges, Justin was joined by T.S. Kelly, SVP Head of Impact for Carat, a global media agency network. Acknowledging that linear is overfrequencing a particular segment of the population, T.S. pointed out that linear is merely a foundation. To drive the best results, media planners will need to layer in connected TV and streaming options.
According to T.S., these new data-rich formats are evolving the metrics for advertising success. “Rather than guaranteeing delivery of an audience, we’re guaranteeing outcomes—exposure, and how that matches to foot traffic, conversions, and so on,” he says. Knowing how to integrate Connected TV and streaming with traditional linear is the new imperative for an effective media strategy. The good news? You don’t have to do it alone, says T.S. “There’s lots of opportunity to find out where there can be alignment between partners.”
The Future of Video Looks Bright
The TV landscape is evolving at a breathtaking pace. Fortunately, we have the data we need to keep up—and leverage all this change to craft smarter, more effective media plans. Thanks to NewFronts 2020 for having us—and to all of our brilliant industry peers for bringing great insight, information, and inspiration to the party.
For more insights, download the complete Samsung Ads white paper, Behind the Screens: Accelerating Viewership Trends—What You Need to Know Now.