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DeepIntent, Roku pitch ‘silver streamers’ as golden opportunity for pharma ad campaigns

DeepIntent and Roku want to challenge the idea that watching TV on streaming services is the preserve of the young. With 79% of people aged 50 and up using the services, adults in the core demographics for many drug products are streaming and open to viewing ads. 

Roku, the owner of a streaming TV advertising platform, and DeepIntent, a digital ad specialist, have an interest in changing how pharma companies spend their promotional budgets. But, having polled more than 3,000 adults in the U.S., they also have data to make the case that connected TV (CTV) is a good use of ad dollars.

“People 50 and over are the primary audience for many pharma brands, who may not realize that this demographic is really driving streaming growth,” said Eric Lloyd, head of industry, health, at Roku. “There is a tremendous opportunity to reach people over 50 in streaming environments, which offer much more than traditional TV in terms of impacting the patient journey and driving script lift.” 

In addition to the headline finding about streaming uptake, the survey found that 21% of people aged 50 years and over exclusively stream, as opposed to also using linear TV, and 52% are streaming more than last year. On average, people in the demographic use 4.1 services, with Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu the most popular. 

At the dawn of the streaming age, opportunities to run CTV ads were limited, with Netflix, the pacesetter in the market, making a virtue of being ad-free. But times have changed, and, with Netflix’s ad-supported plan hitting 1 million monthly active users in the U.S. after its second month, the streaming services now provide access to a lot of eyeballs.

Older people may be disproportionately represented on ad-supported streaming services, too. The survey found preference for ad-supported services increased with age, with 69% of people aged 60 to 69 years preferring to pay less and get ads compared to 55% of their counterparts aged 18 to 29 years. 

DeepIntent and Roku may find pharma companies have already come around to the idea that their core audience has moved. SMI reported a 59% jump in pharma ad spending on over-the-top digital video content, a term for services such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, earlier this year. While the channel is still small compared to the linear TV behemoth, it is growing quickly.

The report comes amid regulatory scrutiny of a deal involving DeepIntent. The Federal Trade Commission is looking into IQVIA’s attempt to buy Propel Media, which owns DeepIntent, because of concerns the takeover will create an unfair playing field in the digital market for pharma ads.