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Consumers fear they are missing out on content as prices are too high: time for AVOD?

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Consumers believe they are missing out on video-on-demand content due to lack of availability and price, according to new research from Rakuten Advertising, the global provider of advertising technology and consumer insights. And ad-powered video-on demand (AVOD) could hold the key.

The research conducted among more than 4,500 adults across Europe shows that 64% of people feel they are missing out on sport (32%), documentaries (26%) and comedy (25%) content in particular during lockdown.

The cost of home entertainment is also preventing users from watching the shows they want. In the UK, this is the case for sport (42%), followed by sci-fi/fantasy (26%), drama (23%) and comedy (19%).

Many people (62%) have turned to subscription video on demand services (SVOD) in the search for entertainment, with the average person personally paying for up to two VOD platforms. However, price is the main reason for discontinuing a VOD service, highlighting that paying for content is a barrier for some consumers. 26% say they have cancelled because the price was too high and 35% would cancel an existing subscription to pay for a new one.

The surge of illegal streaming during lockdown

As the world has faced restrictions on their normal daily routines, the demand for content has grown exponentially. 77% of consumers are watching one or more hours of video on demand during the pandemic. Lockdown habits are also driving consumers to view VOD content across multiple devices including laptop/desktop (27%), SmartTV (25%) and mobile (20%).

This increased appetite has caused a surge in consumers streaming content illegally. However, the research reveals 41% of UK consumers believe it’s unlikely or very unlikely illegal streaming would continue if content was more readily available.

One way to make content more accessible is AVOD – a new ad-supported video-on-demand service – that allows consumers to watch video-on-demand content for free with adverts. Only 27% of consumers believe it’s likely illegal streaming would continue if content was more readily available on AVOD platforms in particular.

AVOD’s role in entertaining audiences in lockdown and post pandemic

Currently 37% of UK consumers are aware of AVOD offerings. 74% believe their use of AVOD will remain at the level established during lockdown and 60% say they are likely to sign up to AVOD offerings when the service is described to them.

For those consumers that watch major sporting events, now presents an exciting moment as the broadcast of football, golf and horseracing starts again with the easing of lockdown. Across Europe, 26% would be interested in streaming sport on an AVOD service, placing this ahead of all other streaming options, including pay-per-view and monthly subscription services.

More than ever, it is important to offer a variety of solutions that stop consumers being priced out of watching video and sourcing illegal content. Anthony Capano, Managing Director, International, at Rakuten Advertising comments, “Offering alternative VOD models is key to meeting these consumer demands and responding to changing viewing habits. Consumers want access to more entertainment and research suggests they are happy to watch ads in return for it.”

AVOD offers advertisers huge opportunity

AVOD means brands can finally connect with audiences who are consuming on demand video. 46% of UK consumers say ads that are funny, engaging, or entertaining will increase their likeliness of using an AVOD service.

Capano adds, “During this lockdown period it is crucial for brands to continue advertising and stay connected to their customers in ways that resonate. 41% of consumers in the UK want brands to communicate with them in a realistic fashion during this time of uncertainty, and 39% believe brands that emotionally understand people will succeed post pandemic. AVOD can associate brands with enjoyable content that is helping people escape today’s challenges.”

Capano concludes, “Not only can brands benefit from advertising on platforms that are entertaining people, they can be part of a new VOD model that responds to audiences’ desire for content that is accessible.”

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