Viewers open to ads on streaming platforms: Hub study

Adgully Bureau |

Viewers are open to and tolerant of advertising on streaming platforms – especially when ad loads are reasonable, when users’ bills are lower, and when they have the option to choose a premium ad-free options if they so desire, according to Hub Entertainment Research’s TV Advertising: Fact vs Fiction study.

As more and more streaming services adopt an ad-supported model, the importance of understanding advertising’s role in the TV ecosystem – and in viewer’s subscription and viewing decisions – has never been more important. While Netflix, Disney+, and Max work to draw subs to their new ad tiers, Amazon and AMC+ recently announced their push to ad commercials to their streams. Soon there may be few truly ad-free streamers left – if any.

Time and again consumers are seen choosing content first – whether or not they can watch it ad-free.

The sixth wave of the study continues to track use, viewing behaviors, and perceptions of ad-supported TV, exploring the interplay between advertising, cost, and content.

Consumers, who were intolerant to ads in 2023, are now open opt to ad-supported services to save money.

Contrary to popular belief, consumers' patience for advertising has its limits. In a level playing field, nearly four out of ten viewers would opt for a streaming service with fewer ads. Additionally, advertisers benefit from reduced ad loads, as almost half of consumers pay more attention when ad breaks are shorter. A streaming service with a more reasonable ad load tends to elevate the perceived quality of its advertisers.

The consensus among viewers is that two standard-length ads per break constitute a reasonable amount of advertising. Viewers generally find ad breaks acceptable if they last one minute or less, but the tipping point occurs at ninety seconds, beyond which most viewers deem the break unreasonable.

There remains substantial potential for streaming platforms to expand their ad-supported offerings. A significant proportion of consumers remain unaware of the lower-cost ad-supported options provided by most streaming services.

Consumer acceptance of advertising in streaming video is on the rise, presenting growth opportunities for ad-supported offerings. The Hub TV Advertising: Fact vs. Fiction survey consistently indicates that a majority of viewers prefer an ad-supported video subscription if it costs less than an ad-free one over the past two years. In the latest survey, this preference is notably higher than it was in June 2023.

The acceptance of advertising in streaming video is widespread, and there is still untapped potential to attract new subscribers. Many consumers are unaware that streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Max have introduced more affordable ad-supported tiers. Aggressively marketing these economical options can draw in viewers who have not subscribed due to perceived high costs.