Brief • 2 min Read
As industry first-mover Netflix recently announced its plans for a basic, ad-supported subscription tier, The Harris Poll surveyed a representative sample of American adults on behalf of Ad Age to determine consumers’ latest streaming preferences.
Most digital streaming service subscribers find ads on streaming platforms too plentiful and uninteresting. That said, relatively few would pay more money for an ad-free experience.
Three quarters (73%) of digital streaming service subscribers agree that there are too many ads on streaming platforms. Seven in 10 (70%) digital streaming service subscribers agree that in general, they are not interested in the products that are advertised to them on streaming services, and 81% agree that they see the same advertisements repeatedly on streaming services.
Over half (55%) of digital streaming service subscribers agree that ads aired on streaming platforms are less interesting than ads aired on other TV services (e.g., cable, satellite). That said, only a quarter (24%) of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a streaming service to get an ad-free experience and only 28% of digital streaming service subscribers consider access to an ad-free experience as a factor in deciding whether or not to subscribe to a streaming service.
Interactivity and relevancy to the content in which ads are shown are likely key to making advertisements more enjoyable for viewers.
Half (51%) of U.S. adults would interact with an ad (e.g., answering a survey, scanning a QR code) before or during a show in exchange for an otherwise ad-free experience. Three in five (60%) U.S. adults would prefer seeing ads that are relevant to the show they are watching (e.g., advertising similar products, following a similar tone or theme), and 48% would prefer seeing ads that feature the stars of the show they are watching. Three quarters of U.S. adults would prefer to watch ads before a show rather than during a show.
Most U.S. adults subscribe to a digital streaming service, and a notable sum find streaming services that bundle or aggregate content more appealing than those that do not.
Three in five (57%) U.S. adults subscribe to an on-demand streaming platform (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Disney+). Two in five (42%) subscribe to a streaming service from a specific channel or network (e.g., Discovery+, NBC Peacock, HBO Max), and 19% subscribe to a streaming service offered by a cable or satellite provider (e.g., Xfinity Stream, DISH Anywhere).
Of those that subscribe to a digital streaming service, 67% use a smart TV to watch content, 62% use a smartphone, and 42% use a laptop. Two in five (38%) U.S. adults think streaming platforms that combine content from multiple services or networks (e.g., Discovery+, Amazon Prime Video) are more appealing than streaming platforms that only show original content. A third (35%) of U.S. adults think that streaming service bundles (i.e., Disney’s bundle of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+) are more appealing than subscribing to individual platforms.
This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll from October 7, 2022 to October 10, 2022 among 1,045 respondents. Figures for age, sex, race and ethnicity, education, region, household income, and propensity to be online have been weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions within the US population. Respondents for this survey were selected from a pool of potential respondents who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll’s online research. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 4.0 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.
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