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August 2022

2022 TV Advertising: Fact vs Fiction

TV Advertising – Fact vs. Fiction continues to track use, viewing behaviors, and perceptions of ad-supported TV to help TV providers offer an ad experience that will maximize viewer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

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After having been left for dead as consumers flocked to ad-free alternatives like Netflix, ad-supported television is returning with a vengeance….

  • The list of streaming TV platforms with less expensive, ad supported tiers has been growing, with Disney+ set to join the fray later this year
  • For many services offering a choice, subscription numbers are often significantly higher for ad-supported vs. ad-free tiers
  • FAST viewership continues to increase year-over-year

Our 2021 waves of the TV Advertising: Fact vs. Fiction research demonstrated that—contrary to conventional wisdom—a relatively small percentage of consumers say they can’t tolerate any commercials in TV content. But many in even that supposedly “ad-intolerant” group say they’d sign up for a TV service with ads in order to save money.

When it comes to consumers’ perceptions about ads, more important than the mere presence or absence of ads is the overall value they feel they get from the viewing experience—an intricate calculation that takes into account things like ad load, length of ad breaks, ad relevance, the overall service subscription fee, etc. But when ads are delivered effectively, viewers can actually be more satisfied with the overall viewing experience—and feel more loyal to the service—than viewers of ad-free content.

The third wave of TV Advertising – Fact vs. Fiction will continue to track use, viewing behaviors, and perceptions when it comes to ad-supported TV. In the end, the goal of the study is to help TV service and content providers offer an ad experience that will maximize viewer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

Source: Interviews with 3,004 U.S. consumers age 14-74 who watch a minimum of 1 hour of TV per week.

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July 2022

2022 Monetizing Video

Hub’s annual Monetizing Video study tracks how consumers navigate the changing pay-model alternatives, which models viewers prefer and which services they feel offer the strongest value.

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At one point in the evolution of the modern TV ecosystem, it looked like the industry was moving toward a single pay model: all-you-can-eat, ad-free, subscription-based service—in large part thanks to the rapid growth of platforms like Netflix. But as with just about everything else in this new “change-is-the-only-constant” TV environment, things didn’t quite pan out that way.

With ad-free streaming services regularly increasing their prices, free ad-supported services—including FASTs like Pluto TV and the Roku Channel—started to gain traction. Suddenly, consumers began embracing the idea that ads in TV shows aren’t a necessarily evil, but can actually benefit them—by lowering or eliminating subscription fees.

The growing popularity of FASTs led more and more streaming services to start offering hybrid pay models, such as ad-supported AVODs—with both lower ad loads than traditional linear TV and lower monthly fees than traditional SVODs. And as we’ve seen in our recent research, ad-supported tiers of streaming services have rapidly grown in popularity.

Hub’s annual Monetizing Video study tracks how consumers navigate these changing pay-model alternatives. In particular, the study explores which models viewers prefer and which services they feel offer the strongest value.

In the end, the study is designed to help companies better understand how consumers evaluate their provider choices, and specifically what makes one provider more valuable to them than others.

Source: Interviews with 1,610 U.S. consumers age 16-74 who watch a minimum of 1 hour of TV per week.

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July 2022

2022 EVOLUTION OF THE TV SET

The report covers current and emerging capabilities of TV sets and TV set peripherals, how they influence viewer behavior, and consumer perceptions of what “TV” even means.

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The evolution of the TV set has reached a new level, with almost four in five homes now having a smart TV, and with smart TVs accounting for nearly three in five TV sets overall. More and more, the biggest screen in the home streams content independently, without the need for other connected devices, making the TV operating system the gatekeeper, replacing (for example) the home page of a streaming media player.  This has the potential to change such viewer behaviors as program discovery and selection, as well as behind-the-scenes business aspects such as data collection and ownership, and ad sales.

The fourth year of this report will continue to cover current and emerging capabilities of TV sets and TV set peripherals, how they influence viewer behavior, and consumer perceptions of what “TV” even means. With data for many questions going back four years, we’ll be able to look at long-term trends to provide additional insight into many of these topics. The report will provide guidance to all stakeholders in the “TV value chain” (device manufacturers, content producers, and content distributors) to help improve TV-related business outcomes.

Source: Interviews with 2,526 U.S. consumers age 16-74

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May 2022

2022 Battle Royale

Hub’s “Battle Royale” study will deconstruct how consumers allocate their entertainment time and money across their various entertainment options.

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So many options, so little time. That may be a tired cliché, but if you’re a consumer of any type of entertainment these days—from linear TV, to streaming video, movies, music, sports, gaming, books, reading materials, podcasts, etc.—that notion has never been more relevant.

And if you create or distribute content, knowing how consumers choose between those options and who you’re competing with has never been more important.

Hub’s “Battle Royale” study will deconstruct how consumers allocate their entertainment time and money across their various entertainment options. It will identify:

  • Which services they simply “must have” and which are just nice to have
  • For those with multiple “must have services”, how the services rank against each other
  • What it is that makes certain services “must have”
  • How their services are used, and which others compete for time with their “top” services
  • Which services not currently used are being considered for future use
  • Which service is the “go to” in a variety of specific situations

You’ll come away from this study understanding where your service(s) fit in the entertainment ecosystem, who your competitors are (including those you didn’t even realize were your competitors) and which consumers you should consider pursuing for your share of their time and/or money.

Source: Interviews with 3,014 U.S. consumers age 18-74 who are entertainment decision-makers

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May 2022

2022 Best Bundle

This study will continue to provide content producers and distributors with insights that will help them better understand the marketplace and better inform strategy and investment decisions.

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For an industry where the only constant seems to be change, the past twelve months have been relatively quiet, at least when it comes to new platform introductions. That’s not to say that nothing has happened since Paramount+ launched in March 2021: since then, we’ve seen the introduction of the ad-supported version of HBO Max and the rebranding of AT&T TV to DirecTV Stream. But for the most part, TV consumers have finally been able to grow accustomed to a relatively stable set of TV service options.

This year’s Best Bundle study will explore how TV consumers have adjusted to this new status quo. Have consumers discovered, and settled on, their ideal bundle of services, or are they still trying out different service configurations to find the combination that best meets their needs? The study will identify the most common configurations of platforms: in particular, the extent to which consumers are bundling linear vs on-demand services, ad-supported vs. ad-free services, subscription vs. free streaming services, etc. And importantly, we’ll explore consumers’ perceptions of provider-created bundles (e.g., the Disney Bundle), and the extent to which they prefer those over their own, DIY configurations.

Of course, the relative stability we’ve seen over the past twelve months is not going to last long, with both the Discovery/Warner and Amazon/MGM mergers looming on the horizon. Both mergers, assuming they’re approved, will likely once again shake up the current status quo and cause TV viewers to reconsider their existing bundles. The survey will explore consumers’ feelings about these mergers, and what changes they might make to their TV services depending on how these new entities are configured.

Source: Interviews with 1,600 U.S. consumers age 16-74 who watch a minimum of 1 hour of TV per week.

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April 2022

2022 CONNECTED HOME

This study will continue to provide content producers and distributors with insights that will help them better understand the marketplace and better inform strategy and investment decisions.

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US households are getting SMARTer (smart TVs, smart home, smart speakers, smartphones, etc.) every year, changes that impact the use of media technology – and thus media itself. With digital delivery, content is increasingly severed from a specific platform and capable of being delivered to the preferred platform at a particular time – a TV at night, a smartphone during a commute, a smart speaker while cooking dinner, a smart watch while jogging.

This untethering of content, and consumer embrace of it beyond early adopters, means it is increasingly important for media stakeholders to understand how consumers are investing in new devices, and in how they mix-and-match media tech to suit their desire to watch (or listen, or read) what they want, when they want, and where they want.

2022 marks the fourth year of Hub’s Entertainment+Tech tracking study. As in previous years, the Connected Home report will provide a broad look at entertainment and smart home technology in US households, as well as intentions to purchase new media tech and how people approach those purchases. With historical trends going back to 2019, our data will reveal what devices are trending hot and cold in today’s media technology market.

This study will continue to provide content producers and distributors with insights that will help them better understand the marketplace and better inform strategy and investment decisions.

Source: Interviews with 5,204 U.S. consumers age 16-74

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March 2022

2022 EVOLUTION OF VIDEO BRANDING

Hub’s Evolution of Video Branding study tracks awareness, understanding, and perceptions of brands across all categories of the TV ecosystem.

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As we all know, the years leading up to 2022 have seen tremendous growth in the sheer number of streaming TV platforms available to consumers—to the point where new services were seemingly being introduced on a monthly basis. Naturally, for any new entrant into the marketplace, the first order of business is to build awareness of the service, and these new services invested substantial marketing dollars to make their services as close to household names as possible.

With most of these services relatively firmly established, the next order of business is arguably more challenging, especially in an extremely crowded marketplace: communicating the unique value proposition of each service. As we’ve seen in prior waves of this study, TV viewers often have difficulty understanding the differences between even broad categories of TV platforms (e.g., SVOD vs. FAST, VMVPD vs. SVOD, etc.), much less the differences between individual services.

With this in mind, many TV services have begun to turn their attention from simple awareness, and have focused on developing ways to stand out from their rivals: for example, by offering exclusive content, partnering with high-profile content creators, introducing entirely new lines of business, or offering subscription tier alternatives.

This year’s wave of Hub’s Evolution of Video Branding study will continue to track how awareness of TV services themselves has evolved over time, but it will also look closely at which platforms have done the most effective job at communicating their unique benefits—and which of those benefits have had the strongest impact on consumers’ subscription decisions.

Source: Interviews with 1,601 U.S. consumers age 16-74 who have broadband access and watch a minimum of 1 hour of TV per week

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February 2022

Metaverse NFT Mini Report

Many predict that Web3 or the metaverse will change behavior and commerce in a fundamental way. While Web3 is still years away, and consumers are being exposed to the first building blocks today. There’s reason to believe that entertainment (via NFTs) will be among the first categories where Web3 bears fruit.

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Many predict that Web3 or the metaverse will change behavior and commerce in a fundamental way. While Web3 is still years away, and consumers are being exposed to the first building blocks today. There’s reason to believe that entertainment (via NFTs) will be among the first categories where Web3 bears fruit.

Source: Interviews with 1,092 U.S. consumers age 13-74  who have broadband internet access (either fixed or mobile).

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February 2022

2021 VIDEO REDEFINED

The study is designed to answer a number of key questions for TV industry clients: do TV alternatives cut into traditional viewing time and to what extent, which options most strongly compete with TV content, is advertising on non-TV video platforms more effective at reaching its target audience than ads on TV, and how can TV companies leverage the perceived benefits of this type of content to their own advantage?

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OVERVIEW: In our Video Redefined research, the last Hub Reports study we conduct each year, we take a step back from our usual focus on the TV ecosystem and how various TV platforms compete with one another, and explore how TV itself competes with the vast array of other screen-based entertainment options at consumers’ disposal.

Understanding the role that TV plays in consumers’ overall entertainment habits has grown more and more important in recent years, driven by a perfect storm of two developments: (1) the rapid growth in available non-television video content, such as online videos on YouTube, TikTok, and other social media platforms, YouTube influencer videos, e-sports, video podcasts, VR, etc., at a time when (2) COVID-prompted confinement has resulted in more time for consumers to spend discovering and engaging with these non-TV options.

Ultimately, the study will be designed to answer a number of key questions for our TV industry clients: do these TV alternatives cut into traditional viewing time and to what extent, which options most strongly compete with TV content, is advertising on non-TV video platforms more effective at reaching its target audience than ads on TV, and how can TV companies leverage the perceived benefits of this type of content to their own advantage?

Source: Interviews with 2,179 U.S. consumers age 13-74 who watch TV and have broadband internet access (either fixed or mobile).

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January 2022

2021 TV ADVERTISING: FACT VS FICTION – WAVE 2

The goal of the study is to help TV service and content providers offer an ad experience that will maximize viewer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

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In the first wave of our TV Advertising: Fact vs. Fiction study, we learned that consumer perceptions and behaviors related to ads in TV content are not nearly as black-and-white as conventional wisdom would have one believe. Among other things, we found that the vast majority of TV viewers do NOT profess to be “ad-intolerant” (i.e., will avoid ads at all costs), and we found that even those who claim to detest ads still watch ad-supported platforms—in some cases more frequently than “ad acceptors” do.

As with everything else related to the business of television, the role of ad-supported TV continues to evolve, even since the first wave of the study earlier this year. Streaming platforms like HBO Max now offer ad-supported tiers, use of free ad-supported services continues to grow, and FASTs like The Roku Channel have begun offering their own original content. In addition to updating the baseline measures of ad tolerance, engagement, and satisfaction we captured back in June, this new wave will explore the impact of all of these new developments.

In the end, the goal of the study is to help TV service and content providers offer an ad experience that will maximize viewer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

Source: Interviews with 3,038 U.S. TV consumers aged 14-74

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January 2022

2021 VOICE CONTROL

The report will help inform clients as to the trajectory of voice control tech in entertainment and the potential impact on their businesses. Particularly insightful will be the ability to show how key metrics have changed in the two years since Hub’s Voice Control report in 2019.

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Something to Talk About: Voice Commands and Entertainment Content

 Voice recognition and voice control have been widely used by consumers on their smartphones and in their cars for a number of years, paving the way for smart speakers, one of the most rapidly adopted home technologies ever. Despite the rapid changes in this space, it can also be said that voice-controlled devices are still evolving. Next up: always-listening Amazon-branded TV sets with built-in Alexa capability, removing the requirement for countertop Alexa devices.

Regardless of how one considers the level of development of the market, voice tech is already changing how consumers interact with a wide variety of providers, devices, and content in their home. Any entertainment content that requires “play” or “pause” buttons, changing inputs, adjusting volume, or searching for content will be impacted by the growth of voice control devices and the increasing comfort of consumers in using voice tech.

This study will explore how Americans use voice control technology, whether in TV sets, smart speakers, or embedded into other devices. What are the use cases?… Is voice tech living up to users’ expectations?… Are privacy concerns becoming a more important issue? Among non-users, we’ll explore why – or why not – those consumers plan to adopt voice tech, and in particular, smart speakers.

The report will help inform clients as to the trajectory of voice control tech in entertainment and the potential impact on their businesses. Particularly insightful will be the ability to show how key metrics have changed in the two years since Hub’s Voice Control report in 2019.

Source: Interviews with 2,500 U.S. consumers aged 16-74

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