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U.S. Consumers More Tolerant of Mobile Video Ads

A new survey finds that U.S. consumers are less likely to be irritated by mobile video ads than residents of the U.K. or Canada, but many still felt that the ads were not relevant to them, according to a new survey by QuickPlay Media.

The survey contains detailed information on streaming video usage, device ownership, tolerance of ads on various devices, the popularity of live and VOD and some of the factors that might motivate users to pay for premium services.

The study, which can be found here, found heavy usage of video on Internet-connected devices, with 72% of U.S. consumers, 62% of Canadians and 64% of those living in the U.K. saying they watch video on these devices. Even higher rates were found for VOD, with 88% of U.S. consumers saying they used IP connected devices to watch video on demand.

Overall, 28% reported viewing video on either a smartphone or tablet in the U.S.

The set top box was the most popular way to view live video in the U.S. with 48%, followed by laptops (41%), desktop computers (31%), smart TVs (26%), smartphones (22%), tablets (18%), games console (16%) and streaming media device (8%). Except for the set top box, U.S. viewing rates were higher than those for the U.K. or Canada.

Viewing rates for VOD were slightly higher for tablets in the U.S., with 21% reporting that they used them to watch VOD. VOD viewing on smart phones was 23% among Americans.

U.S. users were also more likely to watch VOD rather than live TV on tablets, with 52% saying they watched more VOD on their tablets.

In terms of specific genres, sporting events and news were much more likely to be watched live than on demand.

The survey also highlighted widespread consumer discontent with mobile ads. Over two thirds of all U.S. users (68%) said they would use the devices more if there were fewer ads and 56% said they were more likely to pay for content if it was free from commercials.

In general, U.S. consumers were less likely to be irritated by mobile video ads, however. About 62% said the ads either "don't bother" them or they "don't pay attention" to the ads, versus 40% in Canada and 49% in the U.K.

About 38% of U.S. users reported that mobile ads irritate them and large majorities complained about irrelevant ads.

In the U.S. only 12% said all the ads were relevant and another 17% said more than half of the ads were relevant. In contrast, 55% said less than half of the ads were relevant and another 16% said none of them were.

Americans were also more likely to pay to avoid ads. Nearly one quarter (23%) said they'd pay for the ad free access to content, versus 20% in Canada and 21% in the U.K.

However 30% of U.S. respondents said they were more likely to react to a video ad on a smartphone or tablet than a television and 25% said video ads were more appealing on mobile devices than the TV.

Overall, about 20% of the respondents in the three countries said they would be willing to pay $5 to $7 for ad-free access to streaming premium video content.

"As more options for watching premium video content emerge for consumers, their particular preferences when it comes to multiscreen video viewing are also coming into focus," said Wayne Purboo, president and CEO, QuickPlay Media in a statement. "Consumers are looking for more content. Based on these results, consumer sentiments are coming through loud and clear: more and better selection of content delivered with minimal disruption. Service providers must factor in not only the right content but also ensure they have the right service platform to deliver HD quality multiscreen packages without compromising on quality of experience."

The survey was based on 1,862 interviews of respondents 18 to 60 who watch live or VOD on various electronic devices and was conducted between May 14 and 17, 2013.