Fragmented TV landscape, changing consumer behaviour and ad budget scrutiny ends ‘war for eyeballs’

Alex Spurzem, Samsung Ads ANZ general manager News Make a Comment

SYDNEY, Today: The nightly burden of picking what to watch on TV now costs us 24 minutes per week. To put that into perspective, we’re spending over 100 days of our lives trying to decide what to watch – and even then many of us will give up or go to bed.

Content without the wait is one of the biggest shifts in consumer behaviour over the last decade. Yet unlimited choice has left viewers feeling overwhelmed, and advertisers navigating an ever-expanding and complex environment.

A new kid on the block is offering viewers a welcome reprieve to the paradox of choice by re-embracing the notion of simply tuning into a channel, leaning back and relaxing for free.

Life in the FAST lane
FAST, or Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV, is a relatively new concept offered by several players in New Zealand, including Samsung TV Plus.

FAST doesn’t reinvent the viewing experience, it simply repackages it. FAST mimics the linear experience, is structured around an electronic program guide (EPG), and provides premium curated channels for free. The difference is that it all takes place in a streaming environment. 

FAST goes one step further by providing viewers with a short-cut to content. Unlike traditional TV, which requires substantial scale to break even, FAST offers a new format that enables single channel shows, nostalgic favourites and genre-based channels, as well as general entertainment, to be set up more easily than traditional linear channels

It’s easy to understand the consumer appeal of quality content that audiences can effortlessly dip into. And, with big players like Warner Bros & Discovery recently announcing they will bring FAST channels to New Zealand this year, the rate of adoption can only grow. 

Connecting the TV dots
Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s FAST service channel offering, has grown three-fold since we launched 12 months ago and we now offer over 65 FAST channels in New Zealand.

Consumers are responding too, viewing time increased 39% year-over-year and it continues to be the #1 FAST app in New Zealand.

As the cost of living continues to squeeze household budgets, we believe more consumers will start to prioritise cost alongside – or even above – content. Viewers will continue to turn to ad-supported or ad-funded (AVOD) environments, which will only entice more players and more premium free content to New Zealand screens. 

To get an idea of what the future could hold for FAST in New Zealand we only have to look at other mature TV markets. The number of FAST channels in the US increased by 220% over three years, while Australia reached 380 channels in February ‘23. This is all thanks to the huge consumer appetite for free content streamed straight to their TVs.

The streaming surge
FAST might still be in its infancy here but streaming is no longer an emerging behaviour. Streaming now plays a significant role in how audiences spend their time, especially given half of all New Zealand households own a Smart TV.

“Content without the wait is one of the biggest shifts in consumer behaviour over the last decade.”

Since the adoption of the Internet, no technology has proliferated faster than Connected TV. What we mean by this is any television set used to stream video over the Internet. Connected TV (CTV) has become the entertainment hub of the household. Advertising capabilities are being fueled by its growth and marketers are being tasked to re-think their media strategy in the age of streaming – but many are finding themselves in uncharted waters.

War for eyeballs
The rapid shift to streaming has created an environment of complexity and fragmentation for advertisers. Over the past year, we’ve spent a lot of time in the market listening to challenges and discussing the role CTV can play.

We recently wrapped up our CTV masterclasses with all the major New Zealand agencies where we discussed how brands can invest in this growing media, maximise its power and gain a competitive advantage.

On Samsung TVs, three quarters of New Zealand households spend time in streaming environments, while one third of households watch no linear at all. Right now, advertisers relying solely on free-to-air TV to get their brand seen are at risk of missing these mostly streaming audiences.

The truth is that while streaming is rising rapidly, most people today choose both linear and streaming. When it comes to advertising campaigns on linear or CTV, it’s not really an either-or debate. The two can supplement and complement each other.

New world of possibilities
Across APAC marketers are adjusting their media spend in line with the streaming surge, according to Nielsen. A third of advertisers are relocating 40-59% of their budgets to CTV. Extending campaigns to streaming audiences means brands can marry the high-quality experience of TV ads with the accuracy of targeting and measurability, opening up a whole new world of deeper, richer engagements with consumers. For advertisers, this is a really exciting proposition.

Understanding how people consume content today is key to unlocking further opportunities for marketers. With Samsung’s Automated Content Recognition (ACR) technology New Zealand advertisers can access unique glass-level data that provides line of sight to everything that happens on our Smart TV screens. This data gives real-time insight into consumer behaviour and engagement across the entire TV, including linear, individual shows, streaming apps, and more.

These insights enable the experience to be personalised for the viewer, ads to be more targeted, and, crucially, they can tell us whether an ad campaign has reached a TV set before. By planning against real behaviours there is now no reason for duplicated or missed audiences, frequency issues or wasted budgets.

Evolution waits for no advertiser
Advertisers have always had to follow their audiences, and viewers will continue to pick and choose across all channels to access the content they want, at the price point they want, when they want.

At a time when every dollar has to go further and every working dollar needs to drive outcomes, we’re ready to help New Zealand advertisers get the most out of a fast-evolving TV landscape.

*EDITORIAL NOTE: Samsung NZ agencies include DDB Aotearoa and Mango. Alex Spurzem is based in Sydney.

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