Binge viewers will watch ads in exchange for better subscription rates

By Jim O'Neill on Jul 14 2014 at 9:00 AM

Willing to watch a couple of ads while you’re binge viewing in exchange for a lower price tag on your pay-TV subscription? A new study today from Annalect says you are not alone.

Binge viewing has quickly become de rigueur among viewers and, with an increasing number of households connected to the Internet, their ranks continue to grow.

The study, “Tune In: The Impact of Binge-Viewing,” from Annalect, which is the marketing technology arm of Omnicom Media, found that nearly two thirds (63%) of U.S. TV viewers binge, with females (67%) more likely to binge than males. Annalect defined binge viewing as watching three or more episodes consecutively in a single seating.

Millennials are most prone to binge (80% said they did), compared to GenXers (68%) and Boomers (49%).

African Americans (78%) binge more often than Caucasians (61%) or Hispanics (72%).

Southerners (69%) binge view more often than Midwesterners (56%), Westerners (61%)  and folks from the Northeast (64%).

Annalect only 43% of binge viewers identify themselves as such, likely assuming that “binging” requires more than a three-episode dash.

But, most (51%) of binge viewers in denial say they like watching TV that way and acknowledge they’re likely to continue.

More importantly, on several fronts, 53% of binge viewers say they think binging is the best way to watch TV and almost half (47%) now identify it as the “normal” way to watch.

In fact, 62% binge at least once a week, with 11% saying they binge daily and 29% saying it’s multiple times a week,

Forty-two percent say they binge evenly throughout the year, although winter makes a pretty strong second with 34%.

And, surprisingly, it’s not just binging during late nights or early mornings… 58% say they binge during primetime hours on weekdays and 60% say they do so on weekends.

Half of bingers use SVOD and premium VOD services, but 43% said their binges are via marathons on cable and broadcast channels. And, as a general rule, while binging, Millennials stream (54%), as do GenXers (36%), and Boomers turn to pay TV and broadcast cables for marathons.

And here’s what really hits home (and what matters to anyone trying to monetize content):

Ads are OK. Here’s why:

• About half of bingers thinks ads take away from the viewing experience, but 49% say that they know ads “come with the territory.”

• 38% said they’d watch ads to lower their subscription rate.

• 35% said ads provide a break during long sessions of viewing.

• Binge viewers are 2X as likely to remember ads than non-bingers (21% vs. 10%).

They’re nearly twice as likely to discuss ads with friends and family (20% vs. 12%). And,

• They are 2X as likely to share ads via social media (15% vs. 7%).

It’s easy to see why binge viewing has been a hit with users of SVOD services; the ability to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device they choose is a powerful draw… which is why TV Everywhere has so much potential.

And, that’s why marketers need to take more risks in experimenting with ad loads on TV Everywhere content and on catch-up TV platforms. And, it’s why the industry needs to embrace a better method of tracking online viewing metrics, too.

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia

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