British consumers prefer streaming to pay-TV, says Roku survey

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‘The Streaming Decade’ Report shows viewers love streaming content, creating new advertising opportunities

London: Roku has revealed the results of its study of UK consumer TV viewing behaviour and preferences. Conducted by National Research Group, a leading global insights and strategy firm, on behalf of Roku, findings published in ‘The Streaming Decade’ report show that TV streaming has reached a tipping point, with nine in 10 survey respondents saying they are TV streamers versus only seven in 10 who use traditional pay-TV services such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media. This is reflected across age groups, 77% of 57-70-year-olds now stream, and 31% had added more services in the past year. The research established that streaming enables premium content opportunities for viewers. Live sport, traditionally the bastion of live pay-TV, has now become almost as popular on streaming services with 51% watching sport via such services versus 55% on pay-TV. Alongside this, movie fans love streaming, with 68% of consumers stating that having access to a new movie release is a key reason they would try a new streaming service.

Streaming now represents a valuable opportunity to advertise to consumers too. Half of those surveyed say they have ad-supported services, while 21% of ad-funded video-on-demand (AVOD) users are “cord-shavers” who have downgraded their pay-TV services in the last 12 months. Four in five AVOD viewers use another device while streaming, which also creates cross-screen advertising prospects.

“The findings highlighted in our ‘The Streaming Decade’ report show that TV in the UK has reached a tipping point, and streaming is becoming the norm for all ages,” said Mirjam Laux, VP International at Roku. “With more and more new and interesting content available to consumers, streaming has become the dominant force for consumers. And where consumers go opportunities follow for brands to engage them with compelling, best-in-class advertising that’s relevant to their interests. Streaming is clearly the future of TV.”

The research also found that:

  • 66% of audiences choose streaming while 23% choose traditional pay-TV when they want to watch something that everyone is talking about
  • More than half of consumers say they’re going to watch as much TV as they did during the pandemic even as restrictions loosen. Of those who say they will watch as much or more, 40% say it’s because they love TV.
  • Nearly two thirds of 57-70-year-olds agree that streaming represents better value, is more convenient and has greater variety than pay-TV
  • 73% who have signed up to ad-funded TV (AVOD) services, 73% plan to keep it, while 79% plan to keep subscription services (SVOD)
  • TV streamers are loyal – almost two-thirds of UK consumers have never subscription-cycled, (where users sign up, cancel, and then sign up again)
  • Only 3% have definite plans to cancel a subscription streaming service in the next year

The Canadian story

Content producers, advertisers, and marketers take note, TV streaming popularity continues to rise with four in five Canadians classifying themselves as TV streamers (versus three in four who pay for traditional TV), according to the survey.

The survey also revealed that content such as new movie releases (72 per cent), and sports (68 per cent) is a key reason Canadians would try a new streaming service. As well, the ease-of-use, cost-savings, and content quality of TV streaming was shown to have extremely broad, intergenerational appeal among Canadian consumers.

“Amid a year of uncertainty, this survey puts data behind what we at Roku have believed since our founding in 2002: all TV will be streamed,” says Mirjam Laux, VP International Platform at Roku. “These results show that TV streaming is bringing more people together, starting new conversations, and giving viewers of every generation content they love, while also making it more accessible. TV streaming is here to stay.”

The report also highlights generational differences between TV streaming behaviour, with 98% of Gen Z’s; 96% of Millennials; 86% of Gen X’s, and 68% of Boomers using more TV streaming services in the past year.

“For Canadian TV streamers, the number of content options available, as well as the ability to watch at any point of the day makes TV streaming appealing to many,” says Christina Summers. “For advertisers and marketers, the growth in TV streaming, represents great opportunity to better target, reach, and gain new customers. For Roku’s content producers, TV streaming makes it easier to tap into new audience segments, and better monetize existing and often dormant catalogues to extend reach further. Overall, TV streaming is a win-win for everyone in the TV ecosystem.”