Years ago, when “cord-cutting” was a new phenomenon, networks, brands and marketers struggled to understand if streaming video on demand (SVOD) could ever really supplant “regular” television as America’s favorite source of entertainment. Now, not only has SVOD outpaced over-the-air networks but consumers’ taste has evolved in response. The result? The elevation of user experience from an aspect of a streaming channel’s overall value to consumers to a key differentiator. Not only is the same network TV content available through multiple channels, but much of the same original content produced by streaming channels is available on multiple platforms. That makes multiple streaming subscriptions hard to justify for some consumers—and some of the biggest SVOD brands, like Netflix, have experienced bracing losses. What’s the difference between SVOD winners and losers? An old idea—the same one that launched and sustained the ‘golden age’ of television for decades: great content and ads that were relevant, well-placed and engaging.

The Data

A new report by Infillion, “The Consumer-Defined Future of Streaming is Here,” reveals some encouraging news for marketers seeking to advertise with SVOD platforms. While 38 percent of consumers in the Infillion survey “always or usually” avoid ads, a majority (62 percent) reported that they at least “sometimes” watched ads. Of this number, 34 percent of views “always or usually” watch ads.

For the majority of those who pay attention to ads, most are usually multitasking (61 percent) or talking to friends or family (54 percent). That means that while consumers are distracted during commercial breaks– they aren’t inaccessible to marketers’ brand messaging—and most do not mute ads (only 39 percent do). Just as SVOD challenged TV networks for consumers’ attention, brand marketers can reach consumers on SVOD by understanding how consumers, empowered by a range of content choices, decide where to assign their attention.

Consumers Don’t Mind Ads—Really

According to the Infillion report, while 63 percent of consumers say “ads while streaming are invasive,” 50 percent agree with the statement “ads tailored to you and your interests are good,” and almost the same number believe that “ads online accurately reflect my interests.” 

Viewers Are Open To Ads From Unfamiliar Brands

Another 70 percent state that they prefer to see ads from a range of brands, not just ones targeted to them. That means the right content, shown at the right time, can reach even the most discerning consumers—viewers who are paying for the privilege to select their content. 

Be Smart About Ad Frequency And Relevance

As the opportunities for brand marketers to advertise on SVOD channels evolve, marketers should ensure that the content that they share and the frequency that they place ads reflects consumers’ new ability to find the same content in multiple locations: too many ads or too many irrelevant ads may cause them to seek their favorite shows on other networks. 

Start Planning That (Relevant) Campaign

The good news: 62 percent of consumers think that relevant ads are worth watching, according to the Infillion report.