Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 3:02 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Continuing our series of short interviews with industry thought-leaders about trends they're seeing in response to the pandemic, following are insights from Inscape's SVP of Sales and Marketing, Jodie McAfee. Inscape maintains a panel of 14+ million active, opted-in smart TVs; the interview below is based on data from March 15 to April 9. For further details, Inscape and VIZIO Ads recently released a special report with data from each company.
VideoNuze: What are some of the key viewership changes Inscape has observed?
Jodie McAfee: Based on the Inscape panel of 14+ million active, opted-in smart TVs, here are some highlights:
- Streaming viewers (OTT) watched 10% more content overall
- Linear viewers watched 10% more TV overall (time on)
- 34 minutes is the average OTT session time right now
- 19 minutes is the average linear session time right now
- 8.6% increase in sessions by time week-over-week (March 2-8 vs. March 9-15)
VideoNuze: Are there specific genres of programming where changes in consumption are most notable?
JM: News is the obvious beneficiary, given the times. Morning talk is up for shows like The View. Followed by crime, reality and anything that is live. We've also seen an increase in the consumption of family-oriented content, and travel as a genre.
VideoNuze: How do you think these trends will be when life returns to semi-normalcy?
JM: As people return to work (eventually), viewing habits will likely revert to daypart norms. However, if live sports, tentpole events and programming do not return in the near future, then I expect a continued trend toward alternate sources of content, including OTT (apps, etc.), as well as library content. Obviously, advertising and the ability to find the right audience will have to adjust accordingly.
People are watching more TV. Families are gathering together around the primary TV, as well as across multiple screens, and utilizing outlets that go well beyond linear. As consumer behavior continues to shift, a complete view of TV consumption behavior will require a cross-channel view of the media mix to gain a deeper understanding of audiences, make more intelligent ad-buying decisions, and be better prepared for changes in the marketplace. One thing that has to change is the dependency of media buyers and sellers on legacy data sets that are not delivered in real or near-real time, handcuffing marketers' abilities to measure performance and optimize while campaigns are running. Simply put, TV advertising absolutely must become more targeted, effective and efficient.
VideoNuze: There has been a lot of speculation about viewers seeking out familiar programs as "comfort TV" during these difficult times. Does this bear out in your data?
JM: According to Inscape viewing data, between March 15th through April 9th, there was an obvious spike in "comfort TV" binge watching. It is clear that families who are staying home are looking for content that provides an escape and appeals to all ages. Shows like American Idol, Chicago P.D, The Voice, Grey's Anatomy and The Office are leading the most binged linear programs across DVR and VOD.
VideoNuze: With live sports on hold, what are sports fans spending more time watching?
JM: During the first weekend without sports, sports fans spent more time watching cable and app-based news shows, documentaries, non-event sports, magazine shows and kids programming - especially during daytime hours. Here are additional highlights:
- About 10% of sports fans didn't watch linear TV when sports weren't available
- Sports fans who use OTT devices spent 47% more time streaming when compared to the previous week when sports were on
- Sports fans spent more time watching comedy and drama vs. when live sports were available
- Looking at viewers of past NBA games, they are still watching a lot of sports-related programming such as sports talk shows or replays. But excluding sports-related shows, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta is a favorite, followed by Castle, CBS Eyewitness News at 11, Martin and ABC's This Week
- We also took a look at ESPN viewers in general - they're also likely to be watching networks that cover sports, but not all the time. Excluding sports-related networks, USA Network, Comedy Central, CNBC, National Geographic and TBS are popular choices.
VideoNuze: Are there other sports-related programming viewers are seeking out?
JM: Inscape matched three Experian consumer segments to their glass-level TV viewing data to see network and show trends from March 23 through April 6. Overall, despite the absence of live sports, baby boomers, families and millennials are still tuning into sports networks, many of which are now airing replays and hosting talk specials. The good news is that networks can identify audience shifts and increases across dayparts using anonymous household viewing data, and can enable brands to relocate target audiences that dispersed when live sports went off the air.
VideoNuze: Thanks for your time and stay well!