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  • January 4, 2022
  • By Ray Faust General Manager, Media & Entertainment, Resonate
  • Blog

Know Your Streamers: The Vital Differences Between Live and On-Demand Audiences

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As TV viewing habits continue their dramatic shifts, with more and more consumers adopting non-traditional means of watching television, marketers are now tasked with understanding both the impact of pandemic-driven behavior shifts as well as the proliferation of streaming platforms and providers. The dynamic factors in consumer adoption mean it's harder than ever to keep pace with the audiences that matter most to a given brand.

Part of the challenge for today's marketers resides within the branching of new TV viewing options. Within the streaming world alone, there's both on-demand and live streaming. While the audiences that participate in these behaviors often overlap, there are clear and important distinctions between those that prefer or exclusively participate in one or the other. In other words, understanding streaming audiences isn't enough. Marketers' need more-granular insights.

We recently looked at the nuances of the audience that streams only live TV and compared it with the audience of viewers who are only streaming on-demand. Here's what we uncovered. 

Distinctions That Matter

Streaming audiences are far from a ubiquitous group, and when we break things down by live vs. on-demand viewing, we find important distinctions that marketers need to understand when planning their media buys and crafting their messaging.

From a demographic standpoint, live-TV streamers are just about split evenly between males and females, while the on-demand streamer audience skews more female. Overall, the people who stream only live TV (approximately 3.2 million U.S. adults) tend to skew older, with the largest age group being 45-54 years old. Meanwhile, the streaming on-demand only audience (45.3 million U.S. adults) is on the younger side, with the largest group being 25-34 years old. This data suggests that live TV streaming platforms resonate well with older demographics that are used to viewing live TV through traditional broadcast.

Both audiences are very similar in terms of household income (the largest groups in both earning $25,000-$50,000), which proves particularly interesting when you consider their platforms of choice. On-demand streamers are most likely to have subscriptions to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video. Meanwhile, live TV-only streamers under-index on using any paid live TV streaming services and instead prefer to use ad-supported and free services like Pluto TV, Roku Channel, and Tubi TV. Given the similarity in household income, we can infer that affordability and price is not a factor in deciding whether to use on-demand or live TV. It is a matter of preference. In fact, our analysis also found that these audiences demonstrate very different tastes in content overall, with no overlap seen among the top TV shows they watch.

When it comes to live TV streamers, we also discovered:

  • They are 14 times more likely to use Pluto TV when compared to the average U.S. adult population. They are almost 2 times more likely to use Tubi TV to stream live TV programming.
  • They enjoy programming produced by CBS and Fox, especially American Dad and Tucker Carlson Tonight.
  • 43 percent of the audience uses a smart TV to stream their favorite TV shows, and 29 percent of the audience watches live TV on mobile streaming applications. 

Regarding on-demand streamers, our analysis also revealed:

  • A majority of the audience watches Netflix and Amazon Prime Video regularly.?
  • Out of the top four on-demand streaming services, their favorites shows are on Netflix and include Sex Education, Love Is Blind, Big Mouth, and Umbrella Academy.
  • This audience is likely to binge watch their favorite TV shows using their smart TVs. 

As American viewing audiences continue to fragment, marketers are going to need to refine how they think about TV as a channel. In the era of personalization, nuance is everything. It's time for the insights that marketers use to make decisions to get as granular as the audiences themselves.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Resonate. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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