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Family Co-viewing Surges Among Streaming Audiences

Pixabay
(Image credit: Pixabay)

MENLO PARK, Calif.—While conventional wisdom holds that the proliferation of screens has produced more siloed viewing, a new survey commissioned by Future Today has found that family co-viewing among streaming audiences is actually increasing. 

“There is a misperception that the explosion in screens has created siloed TV viewing, with families watching from different devices and rooms,” said Vikrant Mathur, co-founder, Future Today, a provider of ad-supported streaming channels. “In reality, parents with younger children, in particular, are co-viewing more than ever. Co-viewing experiences help these families connect, while also allowing parents to more closely monitor media consumption for their children.” 

“Our findings indicate that co-viewing is growing in prevalence on streaming TV, as the purposeful viewing experience with choice and control lends itself to that activity,” added Mathur. “Families can make decisions together about what and when to view.”

Co-viewing refers to members of the same household watching television at the same time, together. Future Today’s study polled hundreds of US parents with children ages 3-12, and whose families regularly stream family-friendly content. 

The study found that co-viewing of family-friendly streaming content has increased substantially amid COVID-19 and will continue to rise in the immediate term. Ninety-four percent of parents said that they have been co-viewing more family-friendly streaming content in the last 12 months. 

“For many, COVID-19 limited activities with friends and ultimately accelerated family co-viewing,” added Mathur. “Whether for entertainment or education, parents found themselves watching more programs with their children but co-viewing goes beyond the pandemic.” 

When asked how their co-viewing habits might change in the future, especially as COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, respondents said co-viewing is here to stay. Eighty-six percent reported that they plan to watch more content together with their families, debunking the common perception that co-viewing was a pandemic-only phenomenon. 

The study also stressed that the growth in co-viewing streaming presents an opportunity to CTV and OTT advertisers. In the US, ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) viewership is expected to include nearly 60% of all OTT users by the end of 2022. As programming is increasingly ad-supported, including family programming, brands can maximize reach and engagement through “co-viewers.” 

“With co-viewing of streaming content more prominent, CTV and OTT can dramatically enhance campaign value for marketers, helping them reach the entire home on the largest screen,” added Mathur.

The Future Today’s study found that co-viewing boosts ad engagement, with 93% of parents saying they are “engaged” when presented with an ad for adults while co-viewing. Further, 88% of parents reported their children as being “engaged” while co-viewing adult-focused ads.

“Co-viewing leads to deeper engagement with ads and, as a result, higher performance,” added Mathur. “Ultimately, when family members are in a room watching together, it increases their attention, not just for programming, but for advertising, as well.”

When parents were asked which advertising category families are comfortable co-viewing, restaurants led the pack, with 66%, followed by travel (63%), retail (62%), electronics (58%), and food (57%). 

“Our data suggests parents are comfortable with a range of different advertising genres,” said Mathur. “But advertisers that speak to family-based activities and experiences, like dining out and going on vacation, were more preferred.” 

Future Today commissioned The Insights Family to conduct the research, which polled over 300 parents.

Future Today offers such free streaming channels as Filmrise, Fawesome, HappyKids and iFood.tv.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.