Young adults most interested in free, ad-supported downloads of TV shows: Ipsos

On the other hand, older consumers prefer free streaming. Both findings from Ipsos Insight give guidance as to how online advertisers should weight their investments.

Research released last week by NYC-HQ’d Ipsos Insight suggests that, regarding TV shows, significant future growth in online video services may be predicated more on downloading models than on streaming models, and potentially more on free, ad-based content than on paid content.

As part of a wider survey of online adults on technology and media trends, consumers were asked to rate their overall preference for a variety of online video service models if they were going to use them to view their ‘favourite TV shows.’ The service models tested included streaming-only and downloading-only versions of both fee-based video services and free, ad-subsidized versions.

The results clearly illustrate the consumer appetite for free, ad-subsidized online video services – in this case, specifically for television programming. But younger consumers (18 to 34) prefer downloading longer-form television programming online, while consumers 35 and older have a greater affinity for streaming television programming content.

‘It’s clear the younger generation of consumers has a stronger preference for downloadable options when it comes to accessing television programming on the Internet,’ says Ipsos Insight director Adam Wright. ‘Many of these consumers have grown up downloading music online, and want similar flexibility in how they access television programming online. The challenge will be to crack the code on how free downloadable television programming could co-exist with the traditional models for delivering an advertising audience.

‘Clearly, younger consumers are growing an affinity and expectation for downloadable video content, but they are also spending an increasing amount of their disposable time surfing the Internet,’ says Wright. ‘So we may be witnessing the gradual shift in how the next generation will consume video content.

‘As opposed to broadcast models, these consumers want to possess video content so they can view it when and where they want, whether in the living room or from a portable device,’ he explains. ‘The digital medium is really about empowerment, and video sites that enable younger consumers to access the television content they want in the format they prefer will be in position to quickly build an audience with this highly sought-after market.’