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Q3 2020 US AVOD Consumer Deep Dive The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and IMDb TV

Report by Tim Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) continues to lag behind subscription video on demand (SVOD) in a US market still heavily focused on paid subscriptions. AVOD weekly active engagement grew steadily in            2020, and across all leading four AVOD services between            to            2020. However, while US AVOD users show greater receptiveness to relevant ads, overall they show a lower tolerance for ad engagement. The current audience is both digitally savvy and niche, making traditional TV ad engagement strategies difficult to implement on streaming platforms. However, this presents a positioning opportunity for AVOD services as a conduit for hard-to-reach streaming audiences. With AVOD users under-indexing for income and over-indexing for unemployment, the overall direction of the economy will have the biggest negative impact on AVOD weekly active use (WAU) growth in the US over the short-term future.

Key Insights

  • All four            US AVOD services experienced WAU            between            to            2020
  •            of Roku Channel weekly active users (WAUs) stop paying attention when TV show ads appear, eight percentage points above the consumer average            of Roku Channel WAUs skip video ads online, six percentage points above the consumer average            of Pluto TV WAUs do not want ads in paid video services, five percentage points above the consumer average
  • All four            AVOD service WAUs over-index for            to relevant ads
  •            of Pluto TV WAUs pay for a monthly subscription for more than one video service,            percentage points above the consumer average
  • All four            AVOD service WAUs over-index for            piracy and for paid video           
  •            of Pluto TV WAUs and            of Tubi TV WAUs cut the pay-TV cord in            2020, significantly above the consumer average of           

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Comcast, Fox, IMDb TV, Hulu, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, Pluto TV, Roku, Roku Channel, Tubi TV, ViacomCBS

Methodological Statement

MIDiA classifies AVOD services as providing streaming ad-monetised long-form TV content, for which users set up free accounts to access. While some of these services provide additional paid subscription and download services, the core proposition remains subscription-free.

In this report all four leading AVOD services have WAUs under            Generally, MIDiA refrains from making an analysis of sample sizes below                       respondents in this            US survey). Three of the four leading US AVOD services have WAU penetration above            only IMDb TV does not. As IMDb TV is the fourth biggest AVOD service in the MIDIA            US Consumer Survey, and is the only one which is owned by a tech major, it is included in this report. All IMDb TV WAU analysis in this report is included as it is relationally relevant only to the other three larger AVOD services.

Hybrid AVOD/SVOD (HVOD) services such as Peacock and Hulu are exempt from this report, as they are either not primarily AVOD services or not subscription-free.