News & Insights

Spotify listeners' TV choices provide valuable audio streaming insights

A version of this article originally appeared on Variety.

So much to watch, so little time.

The never-ending scroll through streaming services sums up today’s “Peak TV” era. While TV viewers are thriving with countless content options and services at their fingertips, streamers of all kinds are gathering reams of data on their customers—and entertainment marketers are eyeing that data hungrily.

While most entertainment advertising teams have been focused directly on parsing viewers’ TV and movie habits, it turns out that other things viewers love, and most importantly what they do when they’re not watching TV, is also crucial to understanding their viewing habits.

And thanks to digital audio streaming, there’s data on that—and that data can be parsed, too.

TV fans are music fans—and vice versa

People are spending more time than ever with audio, and what listeners tune into along with what they stream says a lot about personal taste. Paramount insights were uncovered on how audio preferences impact the life of a TV consumer by combining Spotify’s first-party data with insights from Samba TV.

Unsurprisingly, research found that 99.3% of Spotify’s audience self-identify as TV watchers.1 And 72% of watchers are engaging with music streaming services,2 which means digital audio is a powerful tool for understanding behavioral trends among entertainment audiences. Whether audiences are “cord-never” Gen Zers, die-hard cable subscribers, or somewhere in between, how and what they’re watching could be dramatically different. In order to understand entertainment audiences, Spotify Advertising set out to explore a few questions. Are the music and podcasts someone tunes into—and how they listen—an indicator of attitudinal trends? Do various types of TV-watching segments have unique listening habits, too?

It turns out that TV viewers are consuming similar types of content on Spotify, but how each generation streams their content is significantly different.

When—and where—different TV audiences stream Spotify

First, Spotify broke out audiences who use the audio provider by segment: TV watchers, cable TV subscribers, and streaming video on-demand watchers including ad-supported, premium subscribers and TV on-demand. Then, further segmented by age range: Gen Z (18-24), young millennials (25-34), and adults age 35 and older. Here’s what the Spotify team found out about when, where, and what these age groups are most likely streaming.

Midday streaming on Spotify pops among all TV viewer segments. However, both SVOD and AVOD streamers have a higher likelihood of streaming during their afternoon drive (3 p.m.-7 p.m.), and cable subscribers are more likely to dive in during the evening (7 p.m.-midnight).

Younger TV-watching generations, like Gen Z, are most likely to stream music and podcasts across mobile and gaming consoles, unsurprisingly, as opposed to adults 35-plus, who are more likely to stream with connected TVs, smart speakers, or in the car, according to research. This is particularly important to note for marketers who are looking to reach captive listening audiences as this opens up more opportunities to connect within specific demographics across their devices of choice.

What are different generations of TV fans listening to?

When they’re listening, Gen Z TV watchers look for escape from the news of the day. Their age bracket generally digs into games and fiction podcasts the most—but the impact of that preference can vary depending on what category of TV watcher they are.

There is variety among music and podcast tastes, most strongly with young millennials. They are more likely to stream wedding and baby-themed playlists (over indexing at a rate of 98% combined)3 indicating that as they enter new life stages, audio is supporting them as their lives change. Yet young millennial TVOD subscribers and cable subscribers are the exact opposite, and are likely to stream Music Box Lullabies and 2000s Screamo, respectively. For TV marketers, this indicates that it’s not just age that signals diverse musical preferences; it also boils down to audience type and this determines how marketers should effectively reach them.

This type of data opens the door not only to more tailored tactics, but also custom messaging. Audiences are using audio to create the soundtrack of their lives and using their unique moods, moments and mindsets to do so. This allows for an even greater opportunity to connect. Spotify’s ad formats aim to engage, not to distract or prevent from great user experiences — and, in turn, advertisers grab a hold of better results.

Spotify solutions include title-by-title buying, which allows advertisers to run host-read ads with an influential roster of talent. In addition, Spotify Audience Network enables advertisers to scale their reach and impact across Spotify’s network of premium podcasts.

If marketers want to reach engaged audiences, it’s essential to understand the people they’re marketing to. It’s platforms like Spotify that aim to connect millions of entertainment advertisers to billions of listeners. The right data can help marketers craft effective strategies to ensure their message is heard. Spotify’s deeper segmentation is a crucial strategy in turning casual watchers into dedicated fans of the latest title.

  1. Source: Global Web Index, FY 2021, US
  2. Source: Global Web Index, FY 2021, US
  3. Spotify Entertainment Content Persona Segmentation, US, 2022

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