Facebook IQ Compared TV, TV/Streaming and Streaming Viewers

Streaming and TV/streaming viewers value availability of content, while TV viewers focus on price

Facebook IQ examined how the emergence of streaming affected television viewers’ expectations for availability and pricing of content.

The social network’s research arm commissioned Qualtrics to survey 2,126 men and women in the U.S. and Canada between the ages of 18 and 70 who watch movies and shows via TV or streaming a minimum of 30 minutes per day, six days per week.

Facebook IQ revealed its findings at a South by Southwest session Saturday, and highlights include:

  • Streaming viewers value availability of content the most, followed by price and the ability to watch content at their own pace.
  • For TV and streaming viewers, availability of content was still most important, but ability to watch content at their own pace topped price and amount of content.
  • Meanwhile, TV viewers valued price the most, followed by availability of content and amount of content.
  • Streaming viewers were 1.4 times more likely than TV viewers to day they would subscribe to fewer channels at a lower price; 2.23 times more likely to pay a monthly fee for ad-free content; and 2.13 times more likely to want to watch episodes of a show consecutively, rather than weekly.
  • Facebook IQ found a generation gap: Millennials on Facebook were 1.24 times more likely to discuss streaming shows versus other topics, while baby boomers were 1.74 times less likely to do so.
  • African Americans were 1.47 times more likely to discuss streaming shows than other topics, while U.S. Hispanics and Asian Americans were less likely to do so, even though they were more likely to discuss entertainment in general.
  • Streaming viewers were most likely to discover content via recommendations from friends, while TV viewers and hybrid viewers rely on browsing the platform. Facebook IQ noted that TV viewers were still highly likely to discover content via Facebook, mobile and traditional advertising.
  • Compared with TV viewers, streaming viewers were 1.6 times more likely to discover new content via friends’ recommendations, 1.93 times more likely to do so on Facebook and 2.61 times more likely to use their mobile devices.
  • Streaming viewers were more likely to prefer movies, comedies and documentaries, while TV viewers favored sports, talk shows and news.

Facebook IQ also shared the following takeaways for marketers in the sector:

Know what your audience watches and where they watch it: Millennial viewers may be the majority of streaming-only viewers, but the mix of ages among people who view both traditional TV and streaming means marketers shouldn’t leave any group out. If you’re targeting TV viewers, remember that the “experience” still remains a critical asset and can be emphasized in marketing. This is particularly true in sports and news, which are each ranked the top content valued by TV watchers.

Use platform-specific messaging: For streaming viewers, emphasize content in your marketing, not just price or ability to watch anywhere. Streamers still care about great content. For cable TV viewers, the price-to-value ratio still matters to the core audience, but tread lightly—younger viewers place less importance on the value ratio of paid TV.

Leverage mobile and social for discovery: To reach streaming viewers, it’s critical to be present on the devices they use, and to understand the connections they have with their friends. Using platforms and creative that highlights content that their friends are interested in is likely to be more effective in creating interest around a new show or movie.