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Streaming, Smart TV, AVOD…: the consumption of French people on connected TV is changing rapidly

FreeWheel, a specialist in premium and multi-screen video monetization from the American group Comcast, conducted a survey using the Happydemics platform, an independent research solution, on the adoption and use of CTV and streaming in France. The aim of the study was to reveal the viewing preferences of the French and aimed to understand consumer attitudes towards VOD and AVOD (advertising-supported video on demand). The survey was conducted in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (we refer to these countries as “EU6”).

In Europe, smart TVs and streaming are rooted in video consumption habits

Nearly two-thirds (60%) of EU6 respondents say they access CTV via a smart TV, ahead of the use of set-top boxes (30%) and external devices (24%). Streaming services are the public’s preferred method of accessing premium video content, with the majority (94%) of CTV viewers surveyed watching BVOD, SVOD (subscription video on demand) and AVOD, alongside live tv channels.

CTV viewers from EU6 countries who participated in this study access 3.5 streaming platforms on average. AVOD is also gaining momentum in EU6: more than two-thirds of CTV viewers in these countries consume AVOD content on a weekly basis.

Box operators far ahead in France

Due to its unique nature and the high penetration of telecom operators, France is an exception when it comes to the use of set-top boxes in European markets. Almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents say they use a set-top box to connect their TV to the internet, well above the average of 30% across all countries surveyed. However, a growing number of viewers report using their CTV via external devices (21%) or directly from a smart TV (22%). CTV users in France are increasingly aware of the options available to them as the market matures.

The survey reveals that viewers in France vary their consumption of video content depending on the method and device used. Linear TV watched on a TV remains the most popular way to consume premium video, especially among older audiences, while younger viewers favor on-demand content through free or subscription-based platforms. The wide variety of consumption modes and devices used shows that the market is diverse and dynamic, and that viewers are eager to try different services.

Strong attention for streaming in France

While streaming seems to have fully established itself among CTV viewers, compared to other EU countries, viewers surveyed in France seem to be the most attached to video-on-demand content from broadcasters (BVOD), with 80 % of users accessing these premium videos through their CTV.

FAST (free ad-supported streaming platforms) services are still nascent, accounting for around 30% of total AVOD, but are growing rapidly as consumers seek more (free) means and easier access to different types of premium video content.

Top 3 Drivers of CTV Adoption

Being able to watch videos at any time is the top reason French audiences use CTV (46%), making flexibility a key benefit. Almost a third (28%) of them also cite the quality of the user experience as a reason for adopting CTV, while 28% also value the social aspect. For many, CTV remains the big screen at the show for watching content with friends and family, something marketers need to keep in mind when developing their media plans.

Appetite grows for AVOD platforms

In France, more and more connected viewers are making the most of free ad-supported (AVOD) streaming platforms, with 62% of respondents watching a video on an AVOD platform every week. 45% of users access it every day.

Cost is the main draw for AVOD viewers: 53% say being able to watch for free is what they value most about AVOD – a figure that rises to 87% among consumers of popular TV series. For almost a third of users, these ad-supported streaming services offer a variety and quality of content described as attractive, as well as easy access to content.

The study also highlights that only 32% of CTV viewers in France are willing to pay to access ad-free content. This could indicate a saturation point of subscriptions in the market, encouraging CTV viewers in France to try AVOD rather than pay for a new subscription or an additional monthly subscription.

Quality and respect for privacy at the heart of concerns

The majority (65%) of CTV viewers in France believe that premium video platforms – live TV, BVOD and ad-supported streaming services – provide the best advertising experience.

Of respondents who use CTV, one-fifth (21%) say they are open to receiving targeted ads if they match their interests or hobbies, and 17% would accept ads related to their style of life. That said, personal data is a matter of concern for French consumers, and all players in the sector must work to place the consumer at the heart of their concerns. In fact, 58% of respondents say they are opposed to the sharing of personal data for advertising personalization purposes. This shows how new “sophisticated” consumers are very sensitive and cautious about how their data is used.

Virginie Dremeaux, VP Marketing and Communications, International, of FreeWheel comments: “ The study clearly shows that the use of CTV is well developed in France. Interestingly, although there are many streaming options in the market, AVOD is becoming more and more popular. As the demand for ad-supported services continues to grow and the supply matures, marketers can expect some very exciting opportunities, provided they pay close attention to user privacy.. »

European results available here.

Main lessons

  • While most respondents in France (72%) say they use a box operator (telecom operator decoder) to connect their TV to the Internet, their appetite is growing for alternatives such as external devices and smart TVs;
  • 80% of French connected TV (CTV) users watch videos on demand on TV channel platforms (BVOD: Broadcasters Video On Demand);
  • 45% of CTV viewers watch videos on free ad-supported (AVOD) platforms every day.

Methodology

FreeWheel conducted consumer research which collected the preferences and opinions of over three thousand CTV viewers (3354) in the UK (572), France (681), Germany (483), Italy (583) , in Spain (564) and the Netherlands (471) representative of the local population. The responses were collected by online consumer survey specialist Happydemics between February 28 and March 3, 2022.

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