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CTV Users Spend 12 Minutes Looking For Something To Watch, 69% Prefer ‘Free With Ads’ Over Paid Ad-Free Services: Study

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Google TV apps on an Onn streaming player

69% of connected TV users prefer watching free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) content over paying for a subscription that removes the ads. That’s one of the latest findings from a new LG Ad Solutions study on streaming behavior.

Consumers are increasingly becoming more used to, and accepting of, free streaming services, according to the results of the The Big Shift: Wave III study. In addition to 7 in 10 reporting their preference for free services, more than half (53%) already spend two or more hours per week using FAST services, and 27% stated they plan to add a FAST app to their streaming setup in the next 12 months.

While the survey also suggested that consumers are still willing to sign up to a paid service to watch specific content, 63% indicated they are likely to cancel or pause their subscription after watching that content. This, according to LG Ad Solutions, is part of a much wider ‘content overload’ issue that’s helping to fuel subscription cycling.

Difficulty finding content to watch was highlighted as another issue. According to the survey, it now takes viewers almost 12 minutes on average to decide what to watch, double the length of time noted the year before. Further adding to this, more than one-third (37%) struggle to remember which platform specific content is available on, and a similar number (38%) think there is too much choice in general.

Most streaming operating systems and platforms offer content recommendations on the Home screen, and it seems this is becoming an increasingly popular way to battle the choice issue. According to LG Ad Solutions, 2 in 5 CTV users rely on home screen recommendations to find something to watch.

Considering the study only surveyed 1100 U.S. CTV owners, it remains to be seen how representative the results are, and especially considering the takeaways suit the interests of LG Ad Solutions. However, many of the points highlighted in the study do correlate with recent studies from other companies. Notably, the increased difficulty finding content to watch, the increased rate of subscription churn, and the increased interest in free streaming services in general.

John Finn

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