Over 90% of Americans Watch TV With Other People

Here's why that matters for brand marketers

Over half of streaming platform viewers discuss brands they notice in ads. Getty Images
Headshot of Sami Main

Even with more shows to watch and more devices on which to watch them, the dynamic of TV viewing hasn’t changed much.

According to a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, TV is still a shared viewing experience across all platforms. More than 90 percent of Americans ages 13-64 watch TV with other people; linear TV and over-the-top (OTT) services lead the pack with the highest co-viewing audience reach. The study, which was released in New York during today’s IAB Video Symposium conference sponsored by Hulu and Roku, analyzed 1,223 American video viewers between the ages of 13-64.

When people choose to watch TV together, the most popular reasons across both linear and OTT environments are to spend time together and to unwind. On streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, about 59 percent of shared viewing takes place with spouses or partners, while 41 percent takes place with kids.

“Watching TV has always had an important social component, and this has absolutely continued as OTT platforms become ever-more important parts of people’s viewing rituals,” said Chris Kuist, svp of research and impact for the IAB. “This social aspect of biggest screen in the house is powerful, and is being amplified on OTT platforms in ways that can greatly benefit marketers.”

Streaming platforms also see 56 percent of viewers discussing brands they notice during ad-supported entertainment; 32 percent of streaming viewers actually purchase a brand they see during co-viewing, while 23 percent of linear co-viewers do the same. The IAB notes that teens, millennials, and men are the groups most likely to take an action related to products and brands they see during co-viewing on both OTT and linear TV.

“Insights into OTT co-viewing point to a strong opportunity for brand marketers to take advantage of group dynamics and behaviors that will open doors as well as wallets,” said Anna Bager, svp and general manager of mobile and video for the IAB. “OTT is a powerful platform for reaching younger audiences—especially the hard-to-reach cord-cutters/nevers. Brands launching cross-screen campaigns would be wise to take into account this audience’s affinity for brand-related multitasking across devices.”

To learn more about the study and other co-viewing habits, click here.


@samimain sami.main@adweek.com Sami Main is social editor for Adweek, where she posts Adweek content onto social platforms and looks for creative ways to communicate what's new.
Publish date: November 13, 2017 https://stage.adweek.com/tv-video/90-of-americans-watch-tv-with-other-people/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT
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