TV advertising used to be so straightforward. Now the emergence of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) has changed the game, whilst the new wave of advertising-funded VOD (AVOD) is shaking it up again.

But, as much as conventional wisdom suggests a large-scale viewer migration to over-the-top offerings, what is really happening behind the glass?

That is what Samsung Ads asked recently, when it carried out research on the viewing habits of 45 million US owners of Samsung Smart TVs plus 200 million connected devices. The business unit is able to understand actual viewing, whether it be linear or OTT, using automated content recognition (ACR) that can identify shows being watched on screen.

Its research, carried out between May 1 and July 31, was presented at Advertising Week New York by Justin Evans, Global Head of Analytics & Insights for Samsung Ads.

The key takeaway: whilst some viewers are doubling-down on SVOD, audiences are watching linear, AVOD and SVOD interchangeably throughout the day, in a trend Samsung Ads is calling “platform surfing”.

Linear is the leader


“Linear still dominates,” Evans told Advertising Week New York. “It has the highest time spent, particularly starting around 11 AM and peaking at around 9 PM. Fifty-five percent of all video viewing that we measure is linear.

“However, that also means that streaming is 45% of all viewing – that is much higher than we were expecting to see in this analysis. Streaming has graduated beyond an emerging behaviour into one that’s approaching parity.”

TV is not a zero-sum game

Evans sought to puncture the idea that TV viewing of one type cannibalizes TV viewing of another type.

“We see that 26% of our platform only watches linear,” he said. “We see that 30% only watches through streaming. But we see 44% watches both, and we’re seeing this group grow.

“This middle group … is important because not only are they growing … they are watching 50% more content than those other groups. This really debunks the myth that it’s a zero sum game. Linear and streaming are not only intertwined, but they’re integrated.”

Streaming time is advertisable

“According to what we see, 61% of streamers are watching in ad-supported environments,” Evans said. “(Of) time spent within streaming, we’re seeing 40% of all that time spent going towards streaming. So this is great news for advertisers who want to reach cord-cutters and cord-nevers.”

Target heavy linear viewers

Using an example automotive campaign, Evans showed how, when it comes to driving brand conversions, advertising in linear alongside OTT drives strong results – when it is heavy linear viewers who are targeted.

This video was produced at the Samsung Ads Leadership Forum during Advertising Week, 2019.   It is sponsored by Samsung Ads.   For more videos from the event, please visit this page.