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Digital Streaming Platforms Win Out In Major Sports Ad Experiences, IAS Research Finds

90% of U.S. Streaming Consumers Prefer Streaming Over Traditional TV

Integral Ad Science, a global leader in digital media quality, released new research showing that most U.S. consumers feel that their ad experience is better on digital streaming platforms than traditional TV when watching major sporting events. IAS surveyed over 1,100 U.S. consumers and examined how consumer viewership and ad experience differ on traditional TV and CTV platforms. The survey also analyzed what activities and spending habits consumers have leading up to major sporting events.

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“It’s an incredibly exciting time in the digital advertising industry, with increased opportunity for marketers to engage with their audiences in new ways such as through ad-supported CTV,” said Tony Marlow, CMO, IAS. “This latest thought leadership research shows that consumers are now trusting CTV for their gameday viewership more than ever before and that sporting content provides highly memorable and engaging advertising moments which enhance the overall viewing experience on CTV.”

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This new IAS research, “Game Day Digital Strategy,” also revealed the following about consumers’ perception of ads during these sporting events:

  • Major Sports Events Are Big News, and They Keep Getting Bigger: These sporting events are widely viewed by U.S. consumers and projected to grow in viewership across different platforms and screens, with digital viewership for live sports in the U.S. expected to reach 90.7M in 2025 (US Digital Live Sports Viewers, 2021-2025, eMarketer, February 2021). 86% of U.S. consumers anticipate watching at least one major sporting event throughout the year, with the most popular events being the NFL Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the MLB World Series.
  • Good Ad Experiences Yield Great Ad Opportunities: Many U.S. consumers report a generally positive ad experience when watching live major sports events on streaming/CTV, which offers a promising opportunity for advertisers. 46% of online U.S. consumers usually watch live major sporting events on digital streaming platforms, the most popular of which include Hulu, YouTube TV, and ESPN+. 90% of U.S. streaming service consumers agree that their ad experience on digital streaming platforms is better than their ad experience on traditional TV when watching major sporting events.
  • Anticipatory Behavior Drives Content Consumption: Consumers engage in a variety of activities in anticipation of major sporting events, which include increased online content consumption and use of ads to help plan for these activities. 43% of U.S. consumers find ads helpful when planning for activities leading up to a major sporting event. 47% of U.S. consumers also increase their online content consumption leading up to a major sporting event. The most popular forms of online content include social media, articles, and video clips.

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