LOS ANGELES – People who hoped to save some money by canceling their cable or satellite service and switching to streaming are seeing more premium content go behind subscription paywalls. That makes free programming on ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) services appealing to a wide group of consumers.

“Free is free. It’s liberating. It’s what consumers want,” Karl Meyer, head of ads, media and entertainment for North America at Samsung Ads, said in this discussion with consultant Zach Rodgers at Beet.TV’s Beet Retreat.

He foresees AVOD platforms proliferating as major media companies create more content that lures bigger audiences.

As the world’s biggest maker of smart TVs, Samsung has a prominent place in millions of living rooms. Its platform for gathering automatic content recognition (ACR) data provides a way to measure exactly what programming and advertising are showing up on TV screens.

“It’s really measuring the constant flow of change that’s going on in our living rooms, and being able to offer that back to our advertisers,” Meyer said.

Samsung also has its own AVOD service called Samsung TV+ and a connected TV (CTV) hub called Samsung Network that lists its expanding app inventory. That growth offers an opportunity for Samsung to sell search ads that reach viewers as they spend time looking for something to watch.

Gaming Growth

The pandemic led to a surge in time spent playing video games as consumers sought more ways to keep themselves entertained during lockdowns and other restrictions on their movements. Samsung, which has a streaming gaming platform, found that gamers also were big consumers of video content.

Gamers “are not necessarily just playing games,” Meyer said. “They’ve got a beautiful TV in front of them, and they’re utilizing the apps.”

Game publishers can measure when Samsung customers buy video games, using digital fingerprinting and watermarking technology.

“When it hits the glass, our glass, we know that household has essentially bought that game,” Meyer said. “It gives you a great view of how we’re able to bring that ACR data into the fold, and measure all video media both on our platform as well as elsewhere.”

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