The Current State of OTT and What it Means for Advertisers

Resonate | The Current State of OTT and What It Means for Advertisers

This is a breakout time for OTT media services.

Americans are spending more time at home and looking for socially distant ways to entertain. These days, 41 percent of people are watching TV through a streaming service, with streaming content accounting for 25 percent of all TV viewing.

What does the rise of OTT mean for advertisers?

OTT ad spend was predicted to hit $9 billion in 2020, up 28 percent from 2019. This should come as no surprise, given that connecting with streaming viewers is vital to business growth right now. That said, streaming viewers are a nuanced audience, different from traditional cable TV subscribers. For advertisers, capitalizing on and messaging to their unique personal values and behaviors will lead to maximum ROI.

The who, what, and where of streaming

We know that millennials are at the forefront of the switch to streaming, accounting for almost 40 percent of total streaming viewers. But what motivates and defines their viewing habits? Recently, we tapped into Resonate’s AI-driven data on Americans who consume media through a TV streaming service to better understand these individuals and their habits. In our analysis, we found:

This growing audience is 52% female and 24% aged 25-34.

  • 24% have an annual income of $25,000-$50,000, and 79% have some college education or more.
  • Values-wise, they are driven by the freedom to be creative, a desire to live a life full of excitement, and a desire for romantic love.
  • 50% currently have cable TV in addition to their streaming service subscriptions.
  • 39% have cut the cord on cable and traditional TV.
  • 26% only watch TV on-demand.
  • 47% watch TV via Roku.
  • 23% rented three or more movies in the last 90 days via streaming.
  • 43% often binge-watch TV.
  • 79% watch TV between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • 33% are also online on their phones while streaming.

During the pandemic already, 80 million Americans have increased their streaming viewership. In comparison, only 44 million Americans have increased their cable TV viewership during the same time. But are pandemic-driven viewers the same as typical streaming viewers?

In our research, we delved deeper into this important distinction and found that pandemic-driven viewers are demographically similar to most streaming consumers, though they are 40 percent more likely than the average consumer to be a student.

These individuals enjoy going to the movies, living an exciting life, and are most likely to watch TV on their phones. Pandemic viewers tend to be those that have time for binge-watching, as 64 percent are quarantining at home to a large extent and 98 percent are social distancing to a moderate or large extent.

2021 Takeaways for Marketers in the OTT Space

The surge in streaming viewership is here to stay for the long haul, but properly connecting with over-the-top viewers in 2021 and beyond will require marketers to keep pace with who these viewers are and their shifting viewing habits. To prepare themselves for the OTT opportunity going forward, marketers must:

Stay up-to-date on continuous shifts:

As viewers continue to stay home, consumption will continue to rise—but will it look the same? We don’t have precedent for the unprecedented. Marketers must seek out fresh, relevant audience data at the individual level to stay competitive in an increasingly saturated market.

Maximize audience value:

Marketers must understand audience shifts and recognize that reaching these consumers will require actionable, real-time audience intelligence. Marketers must look for dynamic insights that can help them maximize audience value and increase market share and retention, while also helping them tell the right story to the right audience in the right way.

Track consumer consumption now:

With more consumers at home, how will that affect viewing habits? Are they more likely to flip on the TV rather than watch on their phone? Marketers need real-time insights that help them refine their media strategies to meet viewers where they are consuming content now, whether that is traditional TV, CTV, streaming devices, mobile devices, or elsewhere.

As we move into 2021, changes in the OTT space will accelerate. Viewers will be facing even more choices in the streaming space, and in-home viewing behaviors will continue to shift in the months and years ahead. Marketers can’t afford to make advertising decisions based on 2020 insights. Now is the time to tap into real-time insights that can help advertising decision-making keep pace with consumer viewing behaviors.

An earlier version of this article was featured on Tech Funnel and The Direct Marketing Club of New York (DMCNY).


For more insights on OTT viewers and what’s to come in 2021, check out The 2021 State of OTT Report.

To learn more about Resonate’s real-time audience insights, request a demo.

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