23% of consumers watch catch-up TV to avoid ads and 53% watch it without ads – time for brands to create more engaging content?

The latest consumer survey by YouGov has recognised the growing popularity of connected TV in the UK but concludes that content is king both for programmes and more interestingly for ads.

As it surveyed the UK’s TV viewing habits and attitudes, YouGov found that almost three quarters (69%) of respondents had watched catch-up TV citing convenience as the main driver for doing so.

Not surprisingly, the BBC iPlayer was by far the most popular catch-up service attracting almost nine tenths (88%) of the catch-up audience way ahead of the ITV player (57%) 4OD (46%). Dramas, documentaries, entertainment and comedy rank highest in terms of the favourite content watched through online video sources.

The survey also confirmed the age divide with 80% of viewers aged 35 or under significantly more likely to enjoy their TV via catch-up services compared with 62% of viewers aged 45+.

Yet there is a significant minority who hadn’t joined the catch-up revolution. Nearly three-tenths (29%) of respondents hadn’t watched catch-up TV – and those were mostly in the 55+ age group. Of those who hadn’t watched catch up, a third said they didn’t want to subscribe to any catch-up TV services. Of those 9% said they weren’t aware of catch-up TV, and 11% said they don’t know how to watch catch-up TV. A further 14% said they didn’t know enough about catch-up TV. Just over a quarter (27%) said there are no programmes available on catch-up TV they are interested in.

Virgin Media cable TV subscribers were much more likely (91%) than other respondents to have used catch-up services. The survey said that the popularity of Virgin Media’s player is driving much of this viewing – 65% of Virgin Media customers have used the player to catch-up on programmes. It should be noted that unlike its competitors, Virgin offers a dedicated iPlayer interface.

Yet if there was a voracious appetite for catch-up TV content, this wasn’t as yet being reflected in the ad environment. The survey found that ads on catch-up TV weren’t hitting the right mark. Indeed, 39% of catch-up viewers have seen adverts when watching a programme, but the majority of respondents (84%) said adverts were more memorable on live TV and just over half (53%) believe they are less annoying on live scheduled TV.

Alarmingly for the ad industry, 23% said that they watch catch-up TV to avoid adverts and over a half (53%) said they are more likely to watch catch-up TV without ads, only 2% would be prepared to pay to exclude the adverts.

Commented Adele Gritten, Head of Media Consulting at YouGov:

There’s no doubt that internet TV in the living room rather than on the PC is coming, and that younger consumers in particular are leading the way and embracing it already.  But our research underlines that it is quality content that is driving viewers to the web to catch-up with programming. And today’s demanding TV programme viewers are not just seeking out quality drama, documentaries and comedy – they also expect the adverts to be entertaining too. Our research suggests that advertising on catch-up TV isn’t pitched quite right at the moment and there’s more to be done to take advantage of the connected TV viewers – now and in the future.


2 thoughts on “23% of consumers watch catch-up TV to avoid ads and 53% watch it without ads – time for brands to create more engaging content?

  1. Pingback: DVD market in decline, the future of video entertainment is online « Bespokevideoproduction

  2. Pingback: Forrester predicts Online Ad Spend to Overtake TV by 2016 « Bespokevideoproduction

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