As consumers we're spoiled for choice when it comes to watching TV online -- from the sheer selection of what to watch, to the ways in which we can watch it. Broadcasters have had to adapt to this landscape, and so have advertisers. As a result advertising campaigns are becoming more targeted than ever before. But how do we, as consumers, feel about that?
Yospace recently commissioned a consumer poll to find out exactly that -- and it revealed some very surprising results on future TV viewing habits.
The poll, which focused on consumer attitudes to advertising in the online world, revealed that 88% of viewers watch the adverts on live TV. This is surprising because it was previously assumed that an ad break is the cue to put the kettle on or change channel.
Perhaps less surprisingly, viewers are interested in ads that are relevant to their location, age and interests. This makes sense - no-one wants to sit through content, be they ads or programmes, that are irrelevant. But it was thought viewers would be less keen on the idea of ads that are targeted to them personally. This has not proved to be the case, with 78% saying they would be more likely to take notice of personalised adverts in a live online stream.
These figures have huge implications for the future of live TV because audiences are moving online to an environment in which every viewer tends to watch on their own screen. Unlike traditional TV viewing, in which a number of people of different ages and interests could be watching the same screen, the online world allows for content to be delivered that is more relevant to the viewer than ever before.
Also, online allows the viewer to interact with an ad. If someone sees an advert they like in a live stream they can click directly on it to open a relevant webpage straight away, as opposed to having to search online or in store for a product.
To this end, 64% of all age groups said they were likely to click on an advert they like online. The most revealing figure, though, is the response from the under-35 age group. Nearly 4 out of 5 consumers said they would take follow-up action to personalised advertising. This is the clearest marker yet of the direction that live television is going to take in the future.
But why is this relevant? From a broadcaster's perspective it's great news. Their audiences have been falling for a while now, especially in the younger age groups, due to on demand platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. The fact that their live channels are successfully making the transition to online is reassuring. The fact that advertising is so much more valuable online means the lost revenues from TV can be compensated. And this feeds back to the viewer. With broadcasters focussing more and more on their online offerings, such as launching online-only channels for major sporting events, consumers can now enjoy more of the action than ever before.
There is a caveat though. Viewers used to watching seamless live television are quick to spot any buffering or glitches when watching a live stream online. If there are technical problems with online adverts, a quarter of respondents said they would consider switching channel, and nearly a fifth said they would think less of the broadcaster.
What this reveals about the relationship between the viewer and broadcaster is the most interesting part of the poll. Personalised advertising is acceptable, but only if the user experience is satisfactory. The broadcaster stands to make significant gains in the online world, but it's reassuring to know that the ultimate control lies with the consumer.
The poll, entitled 'Attitudes To Advertising In The Online World', was conducted by Censuswide and surveyed 2001 consumers across all age groups in 17 UK cities. More details can be found at www.yospace.com