Time spent watching video streaming content outside of the big five increased 16.3 minutes over 2019.  This was partially the result of COVID-19 and 25% of U.S. consumers saying they have increased their video streaming subscriptions this year: 37% because they have more time at home and 34% to access more content. Much of this increase went to “other” streaming players—everything other than Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ which now accounts for 23% of the U.S. streaming pie. The amount of time viewers spent watching “other” content in second-quarter 2020 increased more than 57% year-over-year.

Recent Nielsen research shows that the streaming environment has grown beyond VOD options, and most streaming platforms and content providers are built on ad-supported business models (although some have tiered their offerings to include both ad-supported and ad-free programming). This Nielsen study also shows that today the over-the-top (OTT) streaming universe now includes:

Ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) content: ad-supported original, library and licensed content (TV programs and movies) that consumers can watch on demand. Examples include Vudu, Crackle, Tubi and newly launched Peacock (Peacock also has a premium, ad-free tier). There are also a few AVOD players that also offer scheduled TV programming as part of their service. Pluto TV is an example of this type of content streaming services, and Roku recently launched a free, ad-supported service as well.

Virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) content: live and scheduled content made available to consumers via internet connection. vMVPDs came into existence because companies were looking to attract cord cutters with smaller video packages (skinny bundles) than were available through cable boxes and satellite offerings. Today, the vMVPD category has grown substantially, and most services are subscription-based. More recently, a handful of ad-supported vMVPD offerings have come online that offer scheduled, library content for free. Examples of subscription-based vMVPDs include Sling TV and fuboTV.  Sling TV also offers on-demand content.

AVOD and vMVPD content is joined by one attribute:  advertising.  Digital is where media consumption is rising, and as new digital video content offerings have come online, consumers have been quick to embrace it. That engagement across smartphones, tablets and CTVs is fueling upticks in aggregate media consumption, which is currently over 12 hours per day. With streaming consumption still above pre-pandemic levels and digital ad spend steadily trending upward, ad-supported video couldn’t be better positioned to capitalize.