All is not lost with on-demand
Do you remember Lost, the TV series from the mid-2000s? Well, I do, but I mostly remember how hard it was to watch it. I had to be home every Monday night, before 21.00 in order not to miss out on the latest episode. But not only that: in Brazil, where I lived at that time, Lost was broadcast more than three months after its original release in the US. Can you imagine something like that today?
Following TV series at that time was that hard, and I think this is why the online TV and video privacy trend became really mainstream around then. This was when YouTube came to the market, and well, the TV and media space was about to drastically change: online on-demand streaming was born.
I work for Ericsson ConsumerLab, and just a couple of weeks ago, we released the 8th edition of our TV and Media report , representing the views of over 1 billion consumers around the world. So we can actually go back all the way to 2010 and see how on-demand viewing was at that time. On demand represented 30 percent of the total time spent watching TV. At the time, Netflix was just beginning its journey towards online streaming, and it was only available in the US!
Fast forward to 2017: Netflix is now present in almost every country, YouTube is now used by 95 percent of the online population, new streaming services have arrived, and broadcasters are offering catch-up services. How do you think the on-demand trend has developed? Our research shows that on-demand viewing has grown year after year, and now represents more than 40 percent of what we watch.
On-demand streaming made consumers’ lives easier; suddenly they did not have to follow a schedule and plan their routine to watch Lost or whatever program they liked. Our research shows that an increasing number of consumers prefer on-demand content over scheduled broadcast TV, with numbers increasing from 40 percent in 2010 to almost 60 percent of consumers today!
I promise you this is the last time I talk about TV series, but on-demand and Netflix have also changed the way we want to watch this form of content. Almost 50 percent of consumers think all episodes of a TV series should be released at the same time, and over 40 percent told us they binge watch (watching two or more episodes of a show in a row) more now than they did five years ago.
But on-demand viewing is not the same for everyone. It differs a lot when we compare different age groups. On-demand represents almost 55 percent of the viewing for consumers aged 16-19 years old, while for consumers aged 60 and above, it represents “merely” 20 percent. But we do believe younger consumers will carry the on-demand behavior with them as they age, and of course technology is evolving daily to make it easier for us to use on-demand services. Take Netflix, for example… At some point in time, you could only watch it using a computer or by connecting an HDMI cable to your TV.
After carrying out TV and media research for eight consecutive years in more than 30 different countries, we have created a robust historical database that allows us to predict how on-demand behavior will look in 2020. We can see the trend is nowhere is end , on-demand will continue to grow and will represent half of total viewing! As for me, I am following the mainstream on-demand trend and I hope that by 2020, I will have watched the last season of Lost. But no pressure, it will probably be available forever through some on-demand service.
Please check out the TV and Media 2017 report for a deep dive into the future of VR, on-demand and mobile media habits.