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AVOD Viewer Growth Challenges Its SVOD Rivals, According to Nielsen

Fern Siegel

SVODs command media attention and audience. The numbers for Disney+ and Netflix are huge and retain the lion’s share of viewing. Disney+ hit nearly 60.5 million subscribers in August, after less than a year.

But ad-supported streamers — such as AVODs (ad-supported video on demand), FAST (free ad-supported) and CTV (connected TV) — are gaining traction, accounting for 23 percent of U.S. streaming, according to Nielsen.

Streamers hit new highs this year, given the pandemic. At the same time, due to its economic consequences, free streamers are becoming more popular. (Peacock is the latest AVOD, joining Tubi, Pluto TV, etc.)

Several key takeaways from Nielsen:

• The amount of time viewers spent watching “other” content in the second-quarter increased more than 7% year-over-year, accounting for more than 12 billion minutes.

• When comparing Q2 2020 to Q2 2019, the year-over-year growth in minutes watched outside of content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+ and YouTube was more than 57%, accounting for more than 12 billion minutes.

• Households with streaming options spent one-fourth of their time streaming — and it crosses all age demos, teens to the 55-plus In the second quarter, Americans watched more than 142 billion minutes of streaming video — over 60 million more minutes than what was watched in the same period in 2019.

While AVODs depend on advertising, and global ad spend is down in 2020 due to the pandemic, the long-term view is positive. The February 2020 Nielsen Total Audience Report forecasts digital media spend should top $500 billion globally by 2023.