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How digital natives perceive advertising: a study by the Belgian CSA

posted on 26 September, 2016   (public)

How digital natives perceive advertising: a study by the Belgian CSA

The study, published on August 29th, 2016, was conducted by Claude Pecheux, resident researcher at the CSA, and coming from the University of Mons (UCL). The objective was to better understand how different the viewing experience was when watching the same programme on a linear and non-linear service and more importantly to assess the level of identification of commercials. As the study targets digital natives, the respondents were young people from various social backgrounds, between the age of 17 and 25.

  • The study confirms that linear TV is watched less by digital natives than the rest of the population, while they have a more positive opinion of non-linear platforms.
  • Users tend to be more tolerant towards advertisement in a non-linear environment. Since most non-linear services are available at no charge, users see advertising as a legitimate counterpart.
  • The various forms that advertising can take (a short commercial before the video, a picture on the side) are considered less irritating than traditional commercial breaks during linear programmes.
  • Another, possibly more worrying, trend raised by the study is that in addition to the fact that advertising is generally well accepted by users in an online environment, some advertising content is so well embedded within a website that users do not identify it as such (and may omit to consider it with an appropriately critical mindset).

In the Belgian CSA's view, these preliminary findings reveal the need for implementing a European legal framework regulating commercial communication for non-linear services, especially with regard to issues of identification and separation.

Source: Belgian CSA Website