Entertainment

Consumers in Every Country Prefer Streaming With Ads if It Means a Cheaper Bill

German and Spanish adults, meanwhile, are evenly split on preference for ads or no ads

Among surveyed countries, South Korean adults (64%) and Russian adults (61%) showed the greatest preference for ad-supported streaming services, according to Morning Consult data. (Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Sara Wickersham)

Global Streaming: By the Numbers

As streaming services look to combat slowing U.S. subscriber growth and churn in an increasingly competitive landscape, many have made major investments in international markets in hopes of keeping the revenue flowing. In Morning Consult’s latest entertainment series, reporter Sarah Shevenock takes a close look at the streaming habits of consumers from around the world, including China, Mexico, India and more.

Other stories in the series: How Much Consumers in Each Country Pay for Streaming | How Gen Z Streams TV Around the World | Weekly vs. Binge Watching: Where the World Stands | Global Streaming Users Say Pricing Options, User-Friendly Interface Are Even More Important Than Content

Many believe that consumers are fed up with advertisements on streaming as Netflix and other services have trained the next generation of viewers to expect an ad-free experience. But new Morning Consult data shows that, when given the choice, most consumers prefer to deal with advertisements as long as they can pay less.

When Given a Choice, Consumers Everywhere Prefer a Cheaper, Ad-Supported Streaming Experience

Respondents were asked if they prefer to subscribe to a low-cost streaming service supported by ads or a high-cost, ad-free streaming service

Surveys conducted March 3-8, 2022, among a representative sample of 999-2,211 adults in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, with an unweighted margin of error of +/- 2-3 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
Consumers overwhelmingly prefer ad-supported streaming services
  • When asked to choose between a less expensive, ad-supported service and a more expensive, ad-free service, consumers always preferred the less expensive option, regardless of location. 
  • South Korean adults (64%) and Russian adults (61%) showed the greatest preference for ad-supported streaming services, while Japanese adults showed the least support (37%). U.S. consumers were also keen on ad-supported services, with 57% saying they prefer them and 27% saying they prefer a service with no ads but at a higher cost. 
  • Unlike the other surveyed countries, German and Spanish consumers were almost evenly split on their ad preferences. Roughly 2 in 5 Germans (38%) preferred ad-free services, compared to 39% who were in favor of ad-supported services, while 41% of Spanish consumers were in favor of ads and 39% wanted no ads. 
The Netflix question

What’s old is new again. Consumers are interested in ad-supported streaming, and entertainment companies have responded by introducing ad-supported tiers at lower prices. The availability of these plans could serve as a major draw for those on the fence about adding on another service. 

Most major services, including HBO Max and Disney+, have introduced ad-supported streaming options or have plans to do so in the near future. The big question is Netflix Inc., which has historically been adamant about never including advertisements in its service but has recently softened its stance. Some analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before Netflix abandons its original proposition as an ad-free service and takes advantage of the clear interest in a cheaper, ad-supported version. The data shows there are a lot of eyeballs for the taking.  

Surveys conducted March 3-8, 2022, among a representative sample of 999-2,211 adults in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2-3 percentage points.

Morning Consult