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Mike Fletcher 

VOD viewing on the rise for Samsung TV owners

VOD viewing on the rise for Samsung TV owners

Over half of viewing time on Samsung TVs in the UK by the end of 2020 was spent streaming, according to a new report by Samsung Ads.

Decoding the on-demand TV landscape predicts that streaming is now strongly positioned to lead total TV viewership time, after 56% of time spent with a Samsung TV was spent watching video on demand (VOD).

The average UK daily viewing time spent watching streamed content on Samsung TVs increased by 62% to three hours and five minutes during 2020, compared with a daily average of two hours and 24 minutes for linear television (+58%).

Across the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy combined, time spent streaming on more than 46 million Samsung Smart TVs increased by 61% to two hours and 53 minutes per day. By comparison, time spent watching linear TV rose by 34% to two hours and 30 minutes.

Subscription on demand (SVOD)’s share of streaming hours per Samsung TV in the UK grew from 54% in January 2020 to 55% by the end of December. This accounted for two hours and seven minutes spent streaming SVOD per Samsung TV daily.

Ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) meanwhile grew faster than other VOD platforms - up from 23% in January 2020 to 29% by the end of the year. This accounted for an average daily UK usage of one hour and 17 minutes, compared with 48 minutes in January last year.

Broadcaster video on demand (BVOD)’s share of Samsung TV viewership was 14% of streaming hours in December 2020, down from 19% in January. Despite the fall, 39% of UK-based Samsung TVs watched BVOD content such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub in December 2020, although SVOD’s reach was greater at 84% for the final month of last year.

The report further identifies a growing set of viewers who consume no linear content at all on their Samsung TV. The ‘Streaming Only’ TVs last year grew to 17% of UK devices - a steady growth from 14% in January 2020.

Alex Hole, vice president of Samsung Ads Europe, commented: “Last year was a disruptive year for every industry. It’s clear that in TV, the events of 2020 accelerated growth but also fragmentation across formats. Our report reflects the fact that the evolution of viewership is incredibly complex. Even within the fast-growing streaming category, audiences are fragmenting across OTT environments.

“As viewers get used to choosing what and when they watch, advertisers have an opportunity to evolve around those choices. The growth of streaming shows that appetite for content is only growing. This is a trend we expect to see continuing into 2021 as content options proliferate and viewers increasingly ‘go with the show’, hunting for new ways to find favoured content. This is an exciting time for advertisers looking to connect with viewers on the biggest screen in the home.”

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MattHill, Research & Planning Director, Thinkbox on 23 Mar 2021
“It’s important to put this Samsung Ads report in the wider TV context as it has led to some confusion.

Samsung’s data is an exciting and granular addition to audience measurement, but we must remember that it’s based solely on the use of Samsung Smart TVs. As such it represents a micro-trend in TV viewing – or rather a trend in TV set usage among those most enthusiastic about connected TV and all it has to offer.

Interesting in and of itself, but causing me a headache as people have mistaken it as what’s happening generally.

Samsung’s sample isn’t representative of all TV sets, let alone all TV viewers, and does not represent TV viewing patterns as whole.

For example, Samsung have no idea what types of TV are being watched on other TV sets in a household – which explains their extra-large stat on the proportion of people who don’t watch any linear TV. In fact, according to BARB, on average, only 7% of homes didn’t watch any live TV per month in 2020, and only 2% didn’t watch any broadcaster TV at all (Inc playback and TV set broadcaster VOD viewed with 28 days of broadcast).

The reality of TV viewing is set out here from transparent data sources that are representative of the UK population:

In 2020, the average person watched 35.5 minutes of subscription VOD a day and 16 minutes of broadcaster VOD. That’s a total of 51.5 mins a day streaming – in the UK, an advanced market for streaming.

Alongside this they watched 3 hours, 6 minutes of linear TV a day (live and playback), so linear is three times bigger than streaming.

Streaming is growing rapidly and I don’t seek to denigrate it; it’s the direction of travel in TV and very exciting for viewers and advertisers. But it is important to make sure we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture when reports like this come out.

It is also worth noting what Samsung Ads class as AVOD. This isn’t just non-broadcaster ad-funded TV streaming services; they have included YouTube in their figure, which is likely to account for the vast majority of ‘AVOD’ time.

Preliminary router data from BARB last month found no measurable time spent with AVOD services such as Rakuten TV and TV Plus – which Samsung Ads sells ad inventory for. BARB found that 62% of TV streaming was subscription VOD, 19% was to broadcaster VOD, and 19% was to YouTube.”