On-demand TV and social media change viewing habits

2011-10-14 Categories: Reports, Industry
Family time

Consumers’ appetite for internet-based on-demand TV is on the rise, and at the same time, people’s use of social media is changing the way they watch TV. These are the most important conclusions drawn in Ericsson ConsumerLab’s TV & Video Consumer Trend Report 2011.

The report clearly shows that consumption of on-demand TV – meaning streamed on-demand TV shows and movies as well as downloaded content – is increasing.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents in the study said they watched streamed on-demand TV shows more than once a week (up from 36 percent in 2010), and 35 percent watch downloaded content more than once a week (up from 34 percent in 2010). Consumption of streamed on-demand movies has also increased.

Anders Erlandsson, Senior Advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab, says these changes in TV-viewing habits are part of a wider transformation in society.

“Today the general trend is that people want freedom of choice, and media-consumption habits are no exception,” he says. “On-demand TV fits well into people’s lives; TV should adapt to us and our lifestyles, not the other way around. As one respondent put it, ‘I would rather have five shows of my choice than a million channels.’”

The social factor is also becoming more important when people watch TV. Many have already adopted a kind of chatting behavior, sitting in front of the TV with their tablet or smartphone in their lap to chat with other people who are watching the same show.

Niklas Rönnblom, Advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: “Being able to discuss live sports or TV shows with friends while watching provides added value. This social dimension can increase the value of content that has limited quality on its own. Making fun of a lousy TV show together with friends could actually improve the experience, hence increasing the value of the content watched.”

On a weekly basis, more than 40 percent of respondents use social media while watching TV, and almost one in three chat online. Other common activities carried out while viewing include eating (70 percent), browsing the internet (65 percent) and talking on the phone (50 percent).

However, it is also clear from the ConsumerLab report that broadcast TV continues to maintain a strong position, although there is a downward trend. Eighty-five percent of respondents watch scheduled broadcast TV more than once a week, compared with 88 percent a year ago, and 48 percent watch recorded broadcast TV more than once a week (down from 53 percent in 2010).

The features that TV viewers want the most are high picture quality, the option of skipping commercials, and personalized content. The latter corresponds with the rising trend for on-demand TV, enabling users to watch what they want when they want it.

What people want from their TVs also corresponds well with what they are willing to pay for. Consumers are ready to open their wallets to get access to fresh content such as box-office movies that are still being shown in theaters, and they are willing to pay for good quality and the chance to avoid watching commercials.

Erlandsson says that internet access on TV, app TV and 3D TV are developments that are waiting to take off.

“Consumers want to access the internet on their TVs, but so far the service does not live up to their expectations for speed and ease of use. When it comes to applications on TV, smartphones and tablets set the standard – and compared with them, apps on TV are not as fast or as easy to use and the selection is not good enough. And 3D TV is hampered by the limited amount of available content and the fact that 3D glasses are still too expensive and perceived as disturbing by some.”

The TV & Video Consumer Trend Report 2011, conducted between June and August this year, involved more than 13,000 interviews in 13 countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK and the US. This quantitative approach was complemented by 22 in-depth interviews with families in Germany, Sweden and the US.

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