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Tantalizing Trade Off: VOD Viewers Don’t Mind Watching Ads for Free Content
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Tantalizing Trade Off: VOD Viewers Don’t Mind Watching Ads for Free Content

The rise of video-on-demand (VOD) programming choices is not only a great benefit to viewers—it also opens more opportunities for advertisers and content creators to reach them. But advertising strategies should be navigated carefully, as viewers are looking to cut through the clutter.

Many consumers see value in ads, but the value proposition must be right. In fact, more than half of global respondents who say they watch VOD (51%) programming also say they somewhat or strongly agree that ads in VOD content give them good ideas for new products to try. And importantly, nearly six-in-10 (59%) say they don’t mind getting advertising if they can view free content. This sentiment is particularly strong in North America, where 68% are willing to trade their time and attention for free programming.

What’s clear, however, is the need for more relevant ads that speak directly to consumers. Two-thirds of global respondents say most ads in VOD content are for products they don’t want (66%). 

“In a crowded media environment, relevant ads and brand experiences are critical for engaging consumers,” said Megan Clarken, president, Nielsen Product Leadership. “Just as technology has made it easier for consumers to control the amount of advertising they see, it has also made it easier for advertisers to reach the right consumers at the right time and in the right place. The advertisers with the greatest brand and sales impact will naturally be those that connect messages about products and services with the people who want them.”

Other findings from the global video-on-demand report include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of global respondents (65%) say they watch some form of VOD programming, which includes long- and short-form content.
  • VOD is becoming a part of daily viewing habits for many. Among those who watch any type of VOD programming, 43% say they watch at least once a day.
  • More than three-quarters of global respondents (77%) who watch VOD programming agree that they do so because they can view at a time that is convenient for them.  
  • Among those who watch VOD programming, Millennials and Gen X respondents are the most likely to agree that they like to catch up on multiple episodes at once.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Video-on-Demand Report. If you would like more detailed country-level data from this survey, it is available for sale in the Nielsen Store.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Video-on-Demand Survey was conducted Aug. 10–Sept. 4, 2015, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 61 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes Internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion.