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The value of a shared experience: co-viewing and CTV

May 3, 2022 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Tracking co-viewing is essential for publishers to monetize all viewers they reach across all platforms and apps. It provides details of how people watch television in the household. TVision’s new report, Spring 2022 Co-Viewing Report, offers insight on TV and connected TV (CTV) reach with person-level data.

TVision’s technology detects viewers and what their eyes are looking at in the room. Their technology identifies the content that plays through the TV, or a device connected to the TV. TVision uses an opt-in panel of 5,000 households across the U.S. While the sample is small, when you slice and dice all of the streaming services and apps, it offers intelligence on the co-viewing experience.  

Identifying co-viewing

TVision, like other rating companies, captures Viewers Per Viewing Household (VPVH). This metric represents the average number of viewers present when the television or device is on with the content tuned. Co-viewing offers high value to marketers. It provides an additional audience qualifier – especially if family programming and an adult and child are present. The report shows that viewers are more likely to watch CTV content with friends and family than Linear TV. CTV typically sees VPVH averages of 1.29, while Linear TV falls slightly lower at 1.26.

Family-friendly movies and TV shows dominated the most co-viewed programs across ad-supported CTV apps. Further, Tubi, followed by HBO Max and Hulu, has the highest VPVH. Additionally, movies (73.2%) tend to have more co-viewers than TV episodes (54.8%).

Not surprisingly, the pandemic triggered an increase in co-viewing habits. During Covid’s stay-at-home order, streaming TV co-viewing increased by 15%, and linear co-viewing increased by 9%. According to a Nielsen Study in 2020, co-viewing with streaming happened 47% of the time and 34% on linear.

A shared viewing experience yields more attention

When multiple people sit down to watch a program together, they’re more likely to keep their eyes focused on the screen. Interestingly, when comparing engagement and co-viewing metrics for some of the most-watched connected-TV apps, the majority with high VPVH also index well above average for attention.

TVision’s data shows that adult audiences pay more attention to ads overall when watching with other adults—with a 107.6 attention index. An increase in TV viewing, especially streaming, coupled with the rise in co-viewing, creates a ripe opportunity to connect with consumers.

Younger audiences are more likely to co-view CTV content, with viewers under 18 showing the highest co-viewing rates of all demographic groups. Overall, adult audiences pay more attention to ads whether they watch with others or by themselves. Children, however, are more likely to pay attention to ads when watching in a group than on their own.

The TVision report helps to quantify co-viewing audiences viewing TV and CTV services. However, using a co-viewing index as a multiplier can easily overestimate an audience size and distort total monthly unique users (MAU). As the industry looks to determine the size and scope of streaming and FAST channels, it’s essential to monitor and scrutinize audience viewership and co-viewing claims.

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