Samba TV: Nearly Half of Netflix Subscribers Open to Shifting to Ad-Supported Tier

A new survey found that nearly half of all current Netflix subscribers would consider shifting to an ad-supported model once it becomes available.

Netflix is set to launch a lower-priced ad-supported subscription option before the end of the year. As the world’s largest standalone SVOD service, Netflix’s foray into ad-supported streaming, after a decade of eschewing advertising of any kind, has generated significant attention among new and existing subscribers.

The move comes as Netflix has posted several consecutive quarters of net subscriber losses in the United States.

Data from 2,500 respondents (1,300 non-Netflix subs) in a new Samba TV/Harris X online survey conducted Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 found that 46% of Netflix subscribers might shift to an ad-supported model. Key to the SVOD pioneer and Wall Street is where those ad-supported subs will come from. The survey included 782 millennials, 202 Gen Z, and 1,645 adults who are parents.

Samba found that 92% of non-Netflix users now watch ad-supported streaming platforms. This demo represents younger consumers (33% under 35) open to ads.
The percentage of current Netflix users who would consider shifting to an ad-supported model grows to 51% should the service be free with a maximum of five minutes of ads per hour of programming.
Another 41% of Netflix users state that they would consider switching to a free monthly tier which had seven minutes of ads per hour. About 30% of Netflix users state they would consider switching to a free monthly tier that had 10 minutes of ads per hour.
Nearly 50% of Netflix users state they would consider switching to a tier that was discounted by half of what they currently pay, but had to watch five minutes or less of ads per hour.
Samba contends that five minutes of commercials per hour is the maximum threshold of ads most subscribers are willing to consider. Double the ad minutes, and consumer interest drops below one-third.
Current Netflix users who would be most interested in shifting to an ad-supported tier tend to tilt older and middle-to-lower income, suggesting that the lower-priced existing Netflix subscription tiers are most likely to shift to the ad model.
“[Ninety percent] of adults who do not currently have a Netflix subscription watch other ad-supported content today, indicating these audiences have no aversion to watching ads in exchange for free, or reduced-price content,” Samba TV CEO/co-founder Ashwin Navin said in a statement.
Additional survey results indicated that a majority of baby boomers (52%) and nearly half of Gen X (48%) would make the shift. A majority of those making under $75,000 expressed an interest in moving to an ad-supported tier, whereas less than half of those making over $75,000 were interested (42%).
Younger audiences who have only known a streaming-first world with no or very few ads report far less interest in shifting to an ad-supported tier. Only 38% of existing Gen Z Netflix subscribers report being interested in shifting to an ad-supported tier.

Samba TV: Consumers Not Reducing Winter Holiday Shopping Despite Economic Concerns

Samba TV Sept. 14 announced key findings from its 2022 Holiday Report conducted in tandem with global research firm HarrisX. The survey of more than 2,500 U.S. adults who plan to shop for the holidays offers the first consumer-focused research of the holiday season detailing insights into shifting shopping preferences and significant challenges for advertisers seeking to engage shoppers this holiday season.

“Consumers are in the midst of a multi-year evolution transforming both how they shop and how they consume content,” Ashwin Navin, co-founder/CEO of Samba TV, said in a statement.

Navin said ongoing inflation concerns underscore a complex economic outlook and the most fragmented consumer engagement landscape in history, and we are on par to see one of the most unique holiday shopping seasons in recent memory.

“With Americans continuing to embrace a ‘return to normalcy,’ retailers will see trends like a return to in-person shopping emerge fueling the holiday season with overall spending behaviors on par with previous years,” he said.

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According to the report, about 74% of U.S. adults plan to spend the same or more money this year on holiday shopping as they did last year. The average adult plans to spend $1,041 this holiday season on purchases. About 83% of millennials plan to spend the same or more money this year on holiday shopping. However, due to inflation and the rising price of goods, almost half of consumers (47%) say they might actually pair down holiday shopping and purchase fewer gifts.

“Take note of younger consumers this holiday season,” Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX, said in a statement. “Gen Zers are planning to splurge on their significant others spending more than $100 more than the typical U.S. adult. Gen Zers are also planning to lean into electronics in a big way, leading in smartphone, tablet and PC purchases.”

Samba found that 31% of U.S. adults plan to do most or all of their shopping in-store this holiday season — a significant increase from years past. More than one in four (28%) plan to increase in-store shopping this year compared to last year.

Just 24% now plan to do all or most of their shopping online. This is a shift from the past few years where COVID-19 concerns fueled a strong shift away from in-story to online.

In-store shoppers are planning to spend more than online shoppers, with the average person planning to do the majority of their holiday shopping in-store expecting to spend $1,286 this holiday season and the average majority online shopper planning to spend $853.

The report found that 21% of adults reported starting their holiday shopping before Labor Day. Parents are leading the early shopping charge with 1 in 4 (25%) starting before September.

“Consumers are balancing economic concerns with a deep desire for a return to normalcy this holiday season. Because nothing signals a return to holiday norms for many better than grabbing a pumpkin spice latte while shopping the gift aisles of the local mall this year, we expect to see a measurable increase of in-store purchasing compared to last year,” Navin said.

The 2022 Holiday Report finds that less than half of U.S. adults have a traditional linear TV subscription (48%). With more than half of all consumers now totally unreachable by traditional television campaigns, advertisers will need to lean into new methods to reach a majority of holiday shoppers this year.

The shift to streaming has become nearly universal, with new technologies such as voice assistants and direct-from-TV purchasing emerging as trends to watch this year, particularly among younger generations. In the study, 21% of millennials reported making purchases directly through their TV and 1 in 3 (34%) have clicked a QR code from a TV commercial to make a purchase.

More than 1 in 3 (38%) of U.S. adults report shopping online while watching streaming content, highlighting the need for smart cross-screen connected campaigns to reach consumers across every screen. Moms are the ultimate multitaskers recording the highest online shop activity while streaming (43%).

“Brands and advertisers are navigating the most fragmented consumer landscape we have ever seen,” Navin said. “Half of U.S. adults report that they no longer have access to a linear television subscription. These shoppers are poised to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on holiday gifts and yet will be completely unreachable by any traditional TV campaign. The shift to streaming has become ubiquitous across every age group with new technologies such as voice assistants and direct-from-TV purchasing emerging as trends to watch this year and into the future.”

Samba TV: ‘The Crown’ Streaming Viewership Spiked 600% Following Queen Elizabeth’s Death

Streaming viewership of Netflix original series “The Crown” across multiple seasons skyrocketed 600% in the four days following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, according to new data from Samba TV, which tracks an addressable footprint of 46 million opted-in devices worldwide.

The series, which cast a third actor — Imelda Staunton — to play the Queen for season five (which bows in November) and season six following multiple-season runs by Claire Foy and Olivia Colman (both of whom won Emmys for the role), debuted to critical acclaim in 2016.

Netflix’s series, which reportedly had a $260 million production budget in 2021, showcases the Queen throughout the decades, changing the cast every two seasons, including Prince Philip, Princess Margaret, the Prince of Wales, Princess of Wales and Margaret Thatcher (played by Gillian Anderson in season four).

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Season one, with Foy playing the Queen, finished No. 7 on Netflix’s weekly top 10 charts of most-streamed English-language and non-English-language movies and TV shows for the week ended Sept. 11. The premiere season alone generated 17.6 million hours streamed across 26 countries through Sept. 11.

The series has garnered nearly 130 industry awards and more than 400 nominations.

Samba TV: Prime Video’s ‘The Rings of Power’ Falls Short of ‘Stranger Things 4,’ ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Debuts

Prime Video announced that the premiere of its highly touted (and expensive) prequel series, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” was viewed by 25 million people — tops for any Amazon original content.

Now new data from Samba TV suggests the “Rings” bow, while good, was not as spectacular as hyped.

Indeed, 1.8 million U.S. households watched “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” episode one on Prime Video during the L+3D (Sept. 1-4) window, according to Samba TV. Another 1.3 million U.S. households watched episode two during the L+3D window. The series’ debut marked Prime Video’s highest three-day viewership of any 2022 premiere on the platform.

Yet, the debut of the first episode of season four of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” generated 2.9 million U.S. households. And the debut of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (Disney+) episode one saw 2.1 million U.S. households tune in.

The top 2022 premiere — “Stranger Things” season four — drove 22% of its initial month (L+30) viewership within the first day, whereas the top Disney+ premiere (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”) drove 28%, indicating that roughly one-quarter of those show’s viewers were highly anticipating the premieres to the point of immediately watching on their first day live.

By comparison, Prime Video original shows tend to see a slower build-up, with fewer viewers looking to tune in immediately upon release. Looking at some of Prime’s recent top shows, Samba TV data saw a smaller proportion of L+30 viewership occur within the first day.

For example, “The Terminal List 101” and “Outer Range 101” drove 13% and 15% of L+30 viewership within the first day, respectively. Even recurring series such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” saw a lower proportion of L+0 tune-in than Netflix and Disney+, at 18%. Waiting for a full month of data will help provide a more comprehensive picture of how “The Rings of Power” compares to other streaming releases.

Also, HBO’s “House of the Dragon” premiere over-indexed by 3% among Gen-Z, while Prime’s “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” under-indexed by 4% among the Gen-Z audience, indicating that “House of the Dragon” might be doing a better job engaging younger viewers who did not watch the original “Game of Thrones” when it initially aired more than a decade ago.

Samba found there was a viewership drop-off between episodes one and two of “The Rings of Power,” indicating that about one in four households that watched episode one were not interested in continuing to watch the next episode within the initial L+3 window.

“While initial results were strong compared to other Prime Video debuts, “The Rings of Power” has room to grow, [and] at least early on, face[s] some challenges engaging younger audiences,” Samba TV co-founder/CEO Ashwin Navin said in a statement.

Navin said Prime originals tend to attract larger audiences in the days following their release than other streamers and believes “The Rings of Power” has a strong foundation of viewership from which to build upon.

“As the streamer seeks to tap into the existing fanbase for J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world more than two decades after the [theatrical movies] were introduced, the real challenge and opportunity for Amazon is whether it can expand beyond hard-core fans … and help launch an entirely new programming franchise.”

Samba gathers viewership data via proprietary technology on opted-in smart-TVs across 24 of the top smart-TVs globally (the most in the industry) and captures content that crosses the TV screen, regardless of source. This results in what the company contends is unbiased, comprehensive viewership insights around the world.

As is standard industry practice, Samba TV analyzes the large proprietary dataset to project household-level TV viewership. Samba TV does not estimate viewership on non-TV devices such as mobile phones. However, if a viewer were to watch Prime Video via a mobile or Web browser and casts that to a TV, Samba TV’s ACR technology would capture that household-level viewership.

Samba TV: ‘House of the Dragon’ Episode Two Sees Viewership Dip

About 2.2 million U.S. households watched the second episode of “House of the Dragon” on HBO or streamed on HBO Max within its first day, according to data from Samba TV, which tracks an addressable footprint of 46 million opted-in devices worldwide.

That was down from 2.6 million U.S. households that watched the “Game of Thrones” prequel’s premiere episode on Aug. 21. Indeed, there was a drop-off of about 430,000 households between the first and second episodes. However, episode two still drew higher viewership than any premium cable or streaming premiere in 2022, with the exception of the first “House of the Dragon” episode, according to Samba.

“With a 17% drop in same-day viewership … [it] remains to be seen is whether the series can expand its audience beyond its built-in fanbase in the coming weeks,” Cole Strain, VP of measurement products, said in a statement.

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Samba TV Ups ‘House of the Dragon’ Premiere Viewership to 4.8 Million U.S. Households

Samba TV upped its U.S. household viewership tally for the premiere episode of new HBO and HBO Max series “House of the Dragon” when factoring in the live-plus-three-day access window (L+3).
Samba said 4.8 million U.S. households watched the “House of the Dragon” premiere on HBO and HBO Max. For context, 2.6 million U.S. households watched the premiere in its first 6 hours, meaning that the majority of viewership (54%) occurred during that time.
By comparison, 2.9 million U.S. households watched the “Stranger Things” season four premiere on Netflix in the L+3 window. About 42% of the streaming pioneer’s L+3 viewership occurred within the day it was released, indicating that more households were interested in watching “House of the Dragon” immediately, which Samba attributed to the show’s availability on HBO pay-TV channel and streaming.
“‘House of the Dragon’s’ premiere proved Sunday nights are still sacred for ‘Game of Thrones’ fans, whether it’s 2011 or 2022,” Dallas Lawrence, SVP of Samba TV, said in a statement.
Lawrence said the premiere episode’s concurrent release on HBO and HBO Max drove strong appointment viewing as pent-up demand for “Game of Thrones” content drove more than half of all viewers to watch the premiere episode within the first six hours of its initial release.
“The positive buzz from the initial premier helped boost overall viewership,” Lawrence said.

Samba TV: Linear TV Consumption Dropped to Yearly Low in Q2

Samba TV Aug. 18 released its latest “State of Viewership” report analyzing approximately 24 billion hours of linear and streaming during the second quarter (ended June 30). The media measurement company found a viewership landscape marked by year lows in linear TV viewership, record saturation of the linear TV ad market, a tsunami of new content flooding streaming platforms, and an increasing likelihood for streaming subscriber churn.

“With 95% of all linear ad impressions now reaching only half of American television viewers, we have reached a tipping point for television and advertising more broadly,” Ashwin Navin, co-founder/CEO of Samba TV, said in a statement. “This is a wake-up call moment for our industry.”

It has become a business imperative for the advertising market to evolve away from legacy practices that are leading to significant waste and missed opportunities to embrace new solutions that do not oversaturate the same potential customers with the same costly ads while leaving tens of millions of households largely ignored,” said Samba TV CEO and co-founder Ashwin Navin.

In Q2, linear TV dropped to a year low in minutes watched. With only half the population tuning in to traditional television each day on average throughout Q2 2022, advertisers face a heightened challenge in reaching the other half of household viewers through these mediums. Samba TV’s insights uncovered continued ad saturation across linear, with 95% of all ad impressions reaching only half of American households.

Millennials under age 35 watched nearly 25% less linear TV per week than households over age 35. Some decline in linear viewership can be attributed to different habits among age groups, with older generations remaining tied to linear and younger viewers switching to OTT services.

In the world of streaming, the need to maintain fresh content is at a record high among platforms, with even the most-viewed series fizzling out after its first month and the rate of SVOD subscription churn increasing as viewers look to cut costs. Samba TV data shows over three quarters of 50-day premiere viewership on streaming platforms occurs within the first two weeks. By the 15th day after release, almost all top shows had driven more than 70% of their cumulative 50-day viewership. This jumped to more than 86% of the 50-day viewership after 30 days.

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For the second quarter in a row, both Disney+ and Netflix far outperformed all other streamers in driving multiple program engagements with subscribers. Across other streamers, more than half of viewers watched only one of the platform’s top programs in Q2. On HBO Max, Apple TV+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, between 55%-62% of top program viewers watched just one program among the top 50 shows during Q2 2022. With subscription cycling on the rise (where viewers sign up for one show or move and then cancel), SVODs will need to find new ways to show viewers they are worth the money, whether that be through innovative programming or offering new, cheaper AVOD tiered offerings.

“In today’s content streaming wars, just because you build it, doesn’t mean viewers will come to it,” Navin said. “We need to be much more strategic about how we drive engagement before, during and after launches.”

Samba TV: ‘Lightyear’ Disney+ Debut Fails to Match ‘Encanto’ Bow

New data from Samba TV found that 1.7 million U.S. Disney+ subscriber households watched Lightyear during its Aug. 3-7 debut. That was about 1 million fewer households than the Disney animated musical Encanto scored during its debut week of streaming, which began on Dec. 23, 2021.

Samba, which says it tracks an addressable footprint of 46 million opted-in devices worldwide, said 255,000 U.K. households, 39,000 German and 12,000 Aussie homes streamed Lightyear in its debut.

Of the top 25 designated market areas in the U.S., Denver over-indexed the most (+28%), followed by Seattle (+27%) and Phoenix (+25%).

“The movie landed a strong opening weekend on streaming after spending several weeks in theaters, but fell short of Disney’s last animated theatrical release,” Cole Strain, VP of measurement products for  Samba TV, said in a statement.

Samba TV Enters Spanish Market With Smartclip Partnership

Media measurement company Samba TV Aug. 10 announced a new strategic partnership with adtech platform Smartclip to enter the Spanish market for the first time. The expansion into Spain delivers another key pillar in Samba TV’s global growth strategy, marking the company’s fifth major international announcement this year, following the expansion of its advanced TV footprint in the Australian, British, and German markets, as well as the launch of a first-in-kind partnership in France.

Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, smartclip helps European broadcasters and media companies implement monetization strategies across the digital spectrum.

Samba TV’s entry into Spain marks the second consecutive top 15 world advertising market that Samba TV has entered in 2022 alone and represents the company’s latest success in expanding the reach of its industry-leading TV insights into the European market. ­­

The partnership will make Samba TV’s proprietary smart TV viewership data available to Spanish advertisers exclusively through Smartclip’s adtech platform. With 82% of the country’s adult population embracing connected TV content, this strategic partnership allows advertisers in Spain to leverage the scale and granularity of Samba TV’s ACR-powered viewership data to achieve incremental results beyond linear TV buys and measure campaign reach and frequency.

“The combination of our privacy-compliant viewership data and smartclip’s impressive tech infrastructure will empower advertisers to drive meaningful business impact and future-proof their omni-screen advertising strategies as viewership behavior continues to evolve,” David Barker, SVP of international sales at Samba TV, said in a statement.

Ángel Fernández Nebot, country manager for Spain at smartclip, said the partnership with Samba TV will allow it to achieve a strong market position in Spain.

“Together we will deliver the Spanish market far greater efficiency in the media plans of our advertisers, helping to maximize the results of their advertising investments,” Nebot said.

Samba TV: Hollywood ‘A’-Listers, Action Storylines Drive Streaming Viewership

Netflix’s actioner The Gray Man marks the streamer’s latest original movie to dominate viewing on the platform after its debut, and marks a trend among streaming  platforms signing big-name Hollywood stars for original movies.

New data from Samba TV found that 3.5 million U.S. households, 684,000 British homes, 210,000 German homes, and 37,000 Australian households streamed The Gray Man — starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans — during the Live+3D window since its July 22 release.

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Netflix’s recent original movie successes featuring well-known Hollywood stars include Extraction (2020), with Chris Hemsworth, and Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds in 2021’s Red Notice. Sandra Bullock has two movies on the streamer’s all-time top 10 list: The Unforgivable (2021) and Bird Box (2018), while Kurt Russell and partner Goldie Hawn had success with the “Christmas Chronicles” franchise.

“Hollywood household names plus big action-oriented features are proving to be a winning strategy not just for the big screen in the theater but also the biggest screen in the home,” Cole Strain, VP of measurement products at Samba TV, said in a statement.

Strain said Gray Man marked Netflix’s top-performing movie premiere of the 2022 summer — a prerequisite if the platform hopes to recoup its $200 million investment.

“Netflix has a battle between the Ryans on its hands for the year’s number one premiere weekend, with Ryan Reynolds’ The Adam Project besting The Gray Man by less than 5,000 households,” Strain said.