20 JAN 2021

NATPE 2021: ARE PEOPLE WATCHING DIGITAL CONTENT OR LINEAR?

NATPE Virtual Miami organized a panel entitled “Web or Linear: Who's Watching What and Where?,” in which leading research and data specialists shared their findings from recent studies.

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Aware of the multiplication of screens and the growing supply of content currently available, NATPE Virtual Miami organized a panel entitled “Web or Linear: Who's Watching What and Where?,” in which leading research and data specialists shared their findings from recent studies.

The first specialist invited to the panel was Tara Gotch, VP of National Networks at Comscore, who began saying that “currently, all eyes are on OTT and linear TV, as consumers are staying more at home and they continue to engage with more content than ever before”. However, she mentioned that “audiences are engaging differently now”.

Consulted about the differences in the way audiences engage with subscription services or ad-supported ones, Gotch indicated that Comscore started to see that ad-supported content is rising at a slightly faster pace than non-ad-supported content. “Over the last year, we saw that AVOD services grew 3%, compared to a slight decrease of about 1.5% for the non-ad-supported services,”  she commented.

However, the consumption of content is not only growing in the digital space, but also in traditional television, although in this case it is growing to a lesser extent. “Media consumption across both live TV and OTT is increasing. Live TV saw a pretty massive spike in April 2020, as then was when the pandemic truly began and we saw the impact of the lockdowns,”   Gotch said.

According to the VP of National Networks at Comscore, “linear TV penetration has remained stable, and even with a small growth”. One area that saw a significant increase during last year was local television, which for the executive saw “a bit of a renascence during the pandemic, especially on local news”.

Regarding the future, Gotch considers it is hard to predict audiences’ behaviors. “Consumers are creatures of habits, and as their habits has changed, maybe some of those will stick moving forward. Companies keep launching streaming services, especially in the AVOD space, so we are going to have continued levels of engagement across all platforms,”  she concluded.

Then, Maria Rua Aguete, Senior Director, Media & Entertainment at Omdia, joined the virtual presentation to reveal the main trends in the SVOD sector, the movie industry and the Spanish-language TV content. “2020 was a horrible year for the society, but it was a fantastic year for the video streaming market. In fact, in terms of growth, it was one of the best years ever,”  she began saying.

According to Omdia’s data, across the 328 online video subscription services that the company tracks as part of the TV and Online Database, more than 226 million subscribers were added, and for the first time, online overtook pay TV. However, she warned: “2021 is going to be a much slower year”.

Aguete explained that most of the people subscribed to an OTT service in 2020, which means that the pool of potential clients services can target is now smaller, which adds an extra difficulty in terms of acquiring new subscribers.

Lastly, the specialist described Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Disney+ as “the big winners in 2020,” although she mentioned that they shouldn’t expect such growth this year. In fact, she mentioned that Apple TV+, in particularly, is going to experience a big decline in 2021, as most of its clients were enjoying a 1-year trial, which is now going to be over.

Consumers are creatures of habits, and as their habits has changed, maybe some of those will stick moving forward” Tara Gotch VP of National Networks at Comscore