Ad-Supported Content Dominates, Nielsen Says

Despite the growth of commercial-free streaming services and the increased use of digital devices, Nielsen said ad-supported content has maintained its share of consumers’ time.

In a new report, Nielsen said ad supported content of all types had an 86% share of time spent viewing. That’s up from 84% in 2012, and 85% in 2007, but down from 89% in 2002.

Non-ad supported content had a 14% share in 2017, down from 16% in 2012 and15% in 2007, but up from 11% in 2002.

Related: Live TV Viewing Drops as SVOD Services Gain

“Engagement with ad-supported content has kept pace while more and more devices have been introduced into the media ecosystem,” he said.

The Nielsen report differs from a recent report from PQ Media, which found that ad supported media has been falling since 2012. According to PQ Media, ad-supported media accounted for 44% of times spent with media in the U.S., and will decline to 42.5% by 2021.

Last October, Nielsen launched Its syndicated Nielsen Subscription Video on Demand Content Ratings service, which measures content from streaming services including Netflix, which has resisted disclosing how many people watch its programs.

Related: Nielsen Data Could Change Netflix Brand

Nielsen said it began measuring streaming content in 2014. The company has been working to measure viewing of all content on all devices and platforms as part of its Total Audience Measurement initiative.

Nielsen noted that during the time period it is studying, weekly time spent with media has been on the rise. It reached 75 hours and 38 minutes in 2017, of which 64:55 was ad supported. That’s up from 48:08 in 2002, of which 42:50 was ad supported.

“Although consumption of ad-supported media has varied over the past 15 years, it is still far more dominant and successful than perception may indicate,” Nielsen said. “Today, ad-supported content remains a consumption stalwart as consumers’ media palates expand and consumption habits swell. While such revenue models have existed for some time, they seemingly have the versatility and adaptability to keep pace with an ultimately dynamic and fragmented landscape. This new age of media consumption allows marketers and advertisers to reach consumers in more ways than ever before and do so with ease.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.