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AVOD vs. SVOD viewer demographics: New research shows how the audiences of surging ad-supported streaming services compare to subscription rivals like Netflix

  • Research firm Ampere Analysis took a fresh look at who is watching ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services like Tubi, and how the audiences differ from viewers of subscription services like Netflix.
  • The researchers found that people who said they'd watch ad-supported platforms tended to be older and less affluent than those who said they'd used subscription services.
  • The report comes as publishers, media buyers, and advertisers try to make sense of the ad-supported streaming landscape, as major players like Roku and Amazon push further into the sector and legacy-media companies bet on the upstart contenders.
  • For more on the burgeoning AVOD industry, read Business Insider's list of top executives leading the rise of free, ad-supported streaming-TV in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

US streaming audiences are starting to explore ad-supported platforms in greater numbers, new research shows.

As platforms like Tubi tout their rapidly growing user bases in 2020, Ampere Analysis took a fresh look at who was watching these ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services, and how the audiences differ from viewers of subscription services like Netflix. 

The firm surveyed 4,000 US consumers during the third quarter of 2020 about their streaming habits, including which online-video services they'd watch in the past month. The research was part of Ampere's broader consumer tracker, which polls internet users in 24 markets markets around the world every six months.

Among the US respondents, 17%, or roughly one in five, said they'd watched an ad-supported streaming service like Tubi or Vudu in the past month, up from 13% a year ago.

The respondents who said they'd watch ad-supported platforms in 2020 tended to be older and less affluent than those who said they'd used subscription services, Ampere's analysis of the data showed. 

A greater share of the AVOD respondents said they were aged 45 to 64 than SVOD viewers. Forty-four percent of the AVOD viewers were in that age range, compared with 36% of SVOD users.

Nearly half of the AVOD users also said they had an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year — the higher end of the poverty threshold for a family of four across US states — compared with a third of SVOD users.

The data comes as publishers, media buyers, and advertisers try to make sense of the ad-supported streaming landscape, as major players like Roku and Amazon push further into the sector and legacy-media companies bet on the upstart contenders. Fox this year bought the ad-supported service Tubi, while Comcast snapped up two other ad-supported steamers, Xumo and Vudu.

Ampere's report also compared the content libraries at the major ad-supported streamers to their subscription peers.

It found that, while Amazon Prime Video had the largest catalog by total hours, ad-supported platform Tubi was right up there with it. Tubi had significantly more hours of content than Netflix, the data showed. The AVOD service has been trying to forge more relationships with Hollywood studios and networks to build out its library, and incorporate more programming from parent company Fox.

Ampere Analysis.

Quantity does not necessarily make a better offering, and Ampere did not examine the quality of the libraries. But the report said the size and breadth of content libraries are especially important for AVOD services, which need audiences to keep coming back regularly to grow their advertising revenue. 

"These large and diverse catalog are crucial for AVOD services to ensure regular engagement, as advertising revenue is highly dependent on user consumption – a contrast to subscription VOD services which can subsist on smaller catalog bases, providing key titles are sufficiently high profile," the report said.

For more on the burgeoning AVOD industry, read Business Insider's list of top executives leading the rise of free, ad-supported streaming-TV in 2020:

Meet the 18 power players leading free ad-supported streaming video in 2020, from Roku's top programming exec to the driving force behind Samsung TV Plus

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