The Big Shift: Most consumers prefer free ad-supported streaming subs


LG Ad Solutions, a global leader in connected TV (CTV) and cross-screen advertising, has today released the findings of its latest streaming report “The Big Shift: United Kingdom Wave II” which found that UK consumers are increasingly shifting away from linear TV, with 25% of those surveyed saying they are watching less linear television than a year ago.

The Big Shift

In its place, ad-supported streaming services are growing in popularity, with 68% of UK consumers preferring to stream free content rather than pay for a subscription. This is 8% more than US consumers.

“Nearly all UK households are now reachable via CTV, and with a consumer preference for ad-supported content, marketers need to ensure that advertising on free ad-supported content is part of their media mix,” said Ed Wale, VP Europe at LG Ad Solutions.

“Our data shows that after seeing a CTV ad, UK TV viewers are more likely to search online, visit a website and talk about the ad or product than US viewers.

“It’s clear that CTV is a performance channel and gives marketers the chance to reach and interact with an engaged audience.”

The study, which follows LG Ad Solutions’ first “The Big Shift: United Kingdom” report in 2022, surveyed more than 800 UK consumers in August 2023 to determine consumer perceptions and behaviours related to CTV.

The study also found:

  • CTV is now the top choice for watching live TV: Among UK viewers, Smart TV applications are the leading choice for watching live TV, with 42 percent preferring this method. Availability of live sports is a driving force with 53% of UK TV viewers watching sports content via streaming.
  • Consumers are cutting down on costs: More than 1 in 3 UK TV viewers are concerned about TV costs, with 36% reporting that they have cancelled a streaming service because of economic concerns. Although 86% of UK consumers pay for one or more subscription services, 55% are willing to cancel a subscription after watching the desired content.
  • Consumers are choosing ads over subscriptions: 20% of UK TV viewers expect to remove a subscription streaming service in the next 12 months, and further, 13% will add a free ad-supported streaming service.
  • TV homepages are important for content discovery: In the UK, the top ranked recommendation source for content is the homepage of the TV screen (53%), above recommendations from friends and family (43%).
  • UK TV viewers are multitasking: 91% multitask with a mobile device or laptop while watching TV, with 64% doing so “always” or “often.” Their second-screen activities include: messaging (54%), shopping (35%) and gaming (30%).