Increased hours spent indoors has resulted in a rise in media consumption with 80% of the UK saying they’re consuming more content than ever before. But it’s how we’re watching this content where there are some interesting shifts being seen.

Connected TV viewing in the home has risen exponentially in the last month, with 41% of millennials and over 1 in 5 boomers spending more time on online TV1. Throughout 2019, we had already seen signs that online TV viewing was catching up with linear (1h 20m v’s close to 2 hours per day1). During lockdown however, we’re seeing both at an equal level of viewing1.

The UK is now the largest market globally for watching YouTube via a connected TV, with 30% of all YouTube viewing now done on this device2. Whether it’s DIY tutorials or fitness classes (13% of the UK are now working out to a livestream class via connected device1), we can’t seem to get enough of non-linear content on our big screens. In fact, 10% of all UK TV viewing at 9am is now Joe Wicks teaching us how to touch our toes3.

51% of us are now watching more streaming services than ever before, and in a bid to cope with demand, platforms like Netflix and Disney+ are temporarily reducing their video-streaming quality across Europe1. The launch of Disney+ last month further highlighted our love for on demand content on our TVs, with UK consumers proving happy to add another platform to their viewing portfolio, with 15% likely to consider purchasing Disney+ as they are Netflix at 14%1.

For advertisers, this means more opportunities to buy connected TV viewers at scale, and with more sophisticated targeting capabilities.

This week, RTL AdConnect, the advertising sales house for European broadcast company RTL Group, rushed out its automated programmatic buying platform to buy ad campaigns across Europe on connected TV – taking full advantage of the European lockdown. Called VMP Connect, it is compatible with major demand-side platforms, including The Trade Desk (its preferred DSP partner), without requiring additional set up.

Earlier this month we saw Samsung launch their ad-supported video service, Samsung TV Plus, with the ability to buy programmatically across the platform. Samsung claim it is one of the top OTT services, with “millions” of monthly active users and “billions” of viewing minutes per month. “With our scale, technology and proprietary data, we’re uniquely placed to offer this free, OTT video service …” said Alex Hole, vice president at Samsung Ads Europe.

However, as a relatively new ad channel, lessons are being learnt from across the pond.

Cybersecurity company White Ops recently uncovered what it reports to be the largest-ever connected TV fraud operation in history. Named Icebucket, the operation has counterfeited more than 300 publishers to date and spoofed at least two million internet protocol addresses from more than 30 countries (99% of which claims to be US-based) impacting millions of dollars in adspend. As the case develops, it has highlighted a clear issue – that as an ad channel in its infancy, there is a serious lack of transparency and regulation in its supply chain which is yet to be resolved.

Assuming the current challenges can be fixed, connected TV viewing and ad revenue is undeniably set to grow. According to Digital TV Research, the UK is predicted to be the world’s third largest OTT market with a revenue of $6.8bn by 2023. So even if lockdown has accelerated connected TV viewing, it’s a habit that’s likely to stick. We will see more advertising opportunities arise as audiences continue to increase, although personally I can’t wait to work up a sweat outside, instead of in.