Where’s the Audience? User Demographics by CTV and OTT Platforms

As the Connected TV (CTV) and Over-the-Top (OTT) industries continue to boom, your business is likely interested in (or, at least, learning about) advertising in this space. While we don’t need to convince you of the importance of the industry, you might still be wondering exactly how much growth is occurring. 

We’re so glad you asked! According to Statista, 87% of U.S. households own at least one internet-connected TV device in 2022, increasing ownership rates by 37% in just 8 years. In another study, Statista also found 83% of respondents use subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) in 2022 — up from just 52% in 2015. 

But what about ad-supported tier use? MNTN shared a new study from LG Ads Solutions that found 80% of consumers use ad-supported models of CTV, so there’s no shortage of people watching CTV and OTT advertising. 

Needless to say, CTV and OTT platforms are rapidly growing and have the potential to help you reach your target consumers better than any other advertising channel. But, just like with any other part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need to know who your audience is and where they’re tuning in from before you get started placing ads. 

In this blog, we’ll review some key definitions and explore the audience demographics of some popular CTV platforms and OTT devices. 

What Is CTV? 

Connected TV, also known as CTV, refers to any television with the ability to connect to the internet — a trend that started growing in the mid to late 2000s. From iTunes to YouTube and Netflix to Disney+, the history of CTV might be more complex than you think. 

As MNTN explained, CTV typically happens in two ways: 

  1. Regular TVs that connect to multimedia devices — like Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and Chromecast — and allow you to view content through the internet. 
  2. TVs with in-built internet connectivity, like Smart TVs.

Learn more: Your Guide to Connected TV Video Ad Specs

What Is OTT? 

Similar to CTV is Over-the-Top (OTT), which refers to content going “over” your cable box to give you access to TV content using an internet connection instead of a cable cord or satellite by traditional broadcast providers. The main difference is OTT content can be viewed on any device, while CTV content is strictly shown on television screens. 

Today, several platforms provide streaming services, including: 

  • Disney+
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Roku
  • YouTube

These, of course, are just a few examples of OTT channels (a few others have probably already come to mind while you were reading this list!) As the industry continues to expand, new streaming platforms will inevitably emerge and existing ones will continue to add cheaper, ad-supported options. For example, Netflix’s new ad tier platform launched at the end of 2022

Who Watches CTV and OTT Content? 

While we can’t cover all CTV and OTT platforms in this blog, here are some noteworthy brands to keep in mind: 

Smart and Connected TV Users

As we mentioned above, 87% of U.S. households own at least one internet-connected TV, many of which are built to connect to the internet. According to Statista, 55% of respondents use a Smart TV with the ability to connect to the internet without any additional devices. 

Connected TV users stretch across generations, but of course, some demographics are easier to reach than others. When it comes to Connected TV users, Statista found

  • 49.6 million are Gen Z 
  • 60.5 million are Millennials
  • 51 million are Gen X 
  • 33.1 million are Baby Boomers 

Statista also estimates these numbers are expected to continue rising for Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X demographics. These different generations also spend different amounts of time with Connected TV, with 18 to 34-year-olds spending the most time, at roughly 82 minutes every day. 

Amazon Fire TV Stick Users

At the end of 2017, 9.2% of respondents owned Amazon Fire TV Sticks, but according to Statista, that number has grown to 30%. In early 2022, Amazon’s Fire TV blog announced the company had sold more than 150 million Fire TV devices around the world. 

In another study, 23% of respondents said they used Amazon Fire TV to connect their TVs to the internet, making it the 5th most popular method in 2021. This, of course, is no surprise due to Amazon’s popularity in nearly every industry. 

Amazon Prime Video

According to Statista, Amazon Prime Video is the second most used video-on-demand service in the U.S., with about 66% of all video-on-demand streamers using the platform. 

Another study found the platform had approximately 53.3 million subscribers in 2019 — and the number is expected to continue rising. By 2027, Statista estimates Amazon Prime Video will have over 100 million subscribers. 

So, why do people love the platform so much? Statista found the top five reasons are: 

  1. To watch what they want, when they want to watch them
  2. To access specific films or shows 
  3. To access a variety of content 
  4. To binge content 
  5. Good value for the money spent 

Amazon Prime Video users specifically take note of the ads on streaming services. According to Statista, 46% of viewers in the U.S. recall the digital advertising they saw on the platform over the last month, which is higher than the average video-on-demand user. 

Apple TV Users 

​​Apple TV users are continuing to grow! In 2017, 8.9% of respondents owned an Apple TV device, but, according to Statista, the number of users grew to 21% in just three years. 

In 2021, another study found 14% of all respondents used Apple TV products to connect their TVs to the internet. While it may not be the most popular method, Apple TV is still an OTT device to keep in mind as the industry continues to expand. 

Apple TV+ Users 

Not to be confused with Apple TV devices, Apple TV+ is Apple’s streaming service. 

As of March 2022, Statista found 25 million users around the globe were paid subscribers to the platform and 50 million users were currently using a promotion to access the platform for free. By promoting the platform through free subscriptions, Apple is hoping users will find a favorite show and stick around. That’s how they got me! When I bought my latest Apple product, I got a free trial, which has now turned me into a paid subscriber (and an incredibly impatient person while I wait for Truth Be Told’s third season). 

Maybe the most important part to note is: these subscriber numbers aren’t slowing down anytime soon. One eMarketer report found there are 38.7 million Apple TV+ users in the U.S. alone — and this number is expected to continue growing. By 2026, eMarketer estimates this number will grow to 47.7 million users.

Disney+ Users 

According to Statista, as of Q3 2022 there are 152.1 million Disney+ subscribers around the world. And, Disney+ downloads are on the rise! With 22.5 million downloads in the first half of 2022, Statista reported Disney+ was the fastest-growing app by downloads for that time frame in the U.S. 

When you think of Disney+ (or Disney in general), you might initially think of kids! But, kids aren’t the only audience to target on this streaming platform. While kids (2 to 17 years old) make up a significant portion of the platform’s audience at 43%, Statista found 49% of viewers are actually between 18 and 54. In addition to a (possibly) wider than expected audience, Disney+ users are fairly active on the platform. 

When it comes to how often people use the platform, Statista found

  • 17% – Daily
  • 30% – Several times a week
  • 19% – About once a week
  • 17% – Several times a month
  • 8% – About once a month 
  • 8% – Less than once a month 

Hulu Users 

With several different packages, Hulu is often thought of as a platform with something for everyone. Since the beginning of 2019, Statista found Hulu has doubled the number of paid subscribers on the platform, to 46.2 million users. Another study found Hulu is the third most used video-on-demand service in the U.S. 

So you know a lot of people use the platform! But who exactly are those people? Statista reported

  • 57% of 18 to 34 year olds use Hulu
  • 48% of 35 to 44 year olds use Hulu
  • 36% of 45 to 64 year olds use Hulu
  • 22% of viewers 65 and older use Hulu

How often do they use it? According to Statista

  • 30% – Daily 
  • 32% – Several times a week 
  • 15% – About once a week
  • 13% – Several times a month
  • 11% – Once a month or less 

Another study found 35 to 44 year olds are using the platform more often than others, with 39% of the age group watching Hulu every day and 38% watching several times a week. If you’re trying to target an older Millennial audience, Hulu might just be the perfect platform for your ads

Netflix Users 

As the most popular streaming service in the U.S., it’s no surprise that, according to Statista, 29% of all U.S. CTV streaming time was spent on Netflix. Another Statista study found a majority of consumers also feel Netflix has the best original content, when compared to CBS, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu. 

But Netflix isn’t just popular in the U.S. In 2021, Statista reported it was the top streaming platform in several countries, including Sweden, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. And, in many of these countries, the gap between Netflix and the second most popular streaming service is a wide one! 

So, we know a lot of people are watching Netflix, but let’s take a look at the numbers. When it comes to what percentage of each age group uses the platform, Statista found

  • 75% of 18 to 34 year olds
  • 72% of 35 to 44 year olds
  • 56% of 45 to 64 year olds
  • 44% of people 65 years and over 

How do Netflix users watch their favorite shows and movies? Here’s what Statista found

  • 29.5% – Smart TVs
  • 21.6% – Computers
  • 10.5% – iPhones 
  • 10% – Set-top boxes 
  • 8.9% – Streaming sticks 

Now, as Netflix introduces new, ad-supported tiers to the platform, more people may have the opportunity to find their new favorite show at a reduced rate — and you can have a better chance of getting your business in front of them with CTV ads

Roku Users

From the exponential growth to the hype for Roku City, we can’t skip over Roku in a CTV/OTT discussion. 

On average, viewers watched 21.9 million hours on Roku in the third quarter of 2022. According to Statista, that number is up from just 5.1 million hours in Q1 of 2018. Near the end of 2021, the average U.S. Roku user was streaming 215 minutes — over three and a half hours — of content every day. Plus, Statista found Roku players make up a quarter of the ways people connect their TVs to the internet. 

Hand in hand with the number of hours streamed, the number of active Roku users has increased. According to Statista, there are 63.1 million users in the U.S. 

Who is using Roku? When asked about the streaming services they used, Statista found

  • 11% of Gen Z uses Roku
  • 8% of Millennials
  • 11% of Gen X 
  • 12% of Baby Boomers
  • 10% of the Silent Generation 

With users spread fairly evenly across generations, Roku — just like Netflix — is another great platform for reaching a wider audience. 

YouTube Users

That’s right — YouTube is everywhere, even on CTVs and OTT devices, and it’s kind of a big deal. According to Statista, 21% of all CTV streaming time was spent on YouTube. 

YouTube users by age group, according to Statista, are broken down as follows: 

  • 12.95% of users are 13 to 17 years old 
  • 31.68% of users are 18 to 24 
  • 38.41% of users are 25 to 34
  • 12.04% of users are 35 to 44
  • Only 4.92% of users are 45 or older 

Though YouTube is already incredibly popular, it’s not going anywhere any time soon. With 21.6 million downloads in the first half of 2022, YouTube was right behind Disney+ in app downloads.

Read on: Creative Tips for Connected TV (CTV) and OTT Video Ads

5 Key Takeaways 

  1. Disney+ can help you reach a younger audience. Only 8% of the Disney+ audience is 55 years or older, so while this number may not surprise you, it’s still important to know and consider. Disney+ can be a great fit if your goal is to reach a younger audience, including kids and their parents. 
  2. Don’t overlook older audiences. Recently, MNTN reported that nearly half of U.S. adults aged 65+ are CTV users, so don’t count out CTV when looking to reach Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation! 
  3. Use YouTube to reach Gen Z and Millennials. Since these two generations make up the majority of users on the platform, YouTube is essential if you’re looking to reach these consumers. 
  4. Use Netflix and Roku to reach a wide range of demographics. Thanks to the varying content available, Netflix and Roku both have a wide range of users, from kids to folks in the Silent Generation. If you want to reach a wider audience, Netflix and Roku are effective platforms to try! 
  5. Amazon Prime Video users remember digital ads. Video streaming services are the second most popular format — just behind social media — where viewers recall the digital advertisements they’ve seen over the last four weeks. In addition, Amazon Prime Video users remember the ads at a higher rate than the average viewer, so keep this platform in mind for brand awareness and similar objectives. 

Create Engaging CTV Ads With QuickFrame

CTV and OTT advertising is an incredibly effective way to reach your audience, and it’s on track to become even more effective over the next few years. Earlier this year, CTV officially beat out cable and broadcast, which means more people are spending more time with CTV and OTT devices — and creating a larger (and still growing!) opportunity for marketers and advertisers. 

In fact, according to MarketingTech, “…currently, 64% of businesses are running direct response campaigns on CTV.” The same report shared that nearly all companies (98%) believe CTV advertising will be bigger than mobile advertising.

With this potential impact in mind, your business should implement (or at least consider) CTV advertising. But, your first roadblock might be the creative itself. You might think making a living room quality ad seems difficult, costly, and time-consuming. Traditionally, you’d be right.

But we’re here to change that. From awareness to acquisition (and every other objective), the QuickFrame platform connects you with Makers and production teams who are ready to deliver high-performing video marketing content built for every channel, audience, and campaign. Plus, everything we do is backed with exclusive performance data to make sure your ad stands out against the competition and connects you with your audience. Contact us today to get started! 

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