There has been an enormous and rapid shift in TV and video viewing behaviour towards mobility.
This is among the findings from the seventh edition of Ericsson’s annual ConsumerLab TV and Media Report, which also shows that while both mobile video and on-demand TV viewing have soared over the past seven years, content discovery remains a huge frustration for consumers.
Due to buffering or lack of coverage, streaming video content outside of the home is not a seamless experience, but the possibility alone of viewing content anywhere has continuously driven the consumption of TV and video. In fact, a mobile subscription plan that allows affordable streaming of TV and video content on a mobile device – with reasonable video quality and without having to ration data – is of great interest to 40% of consumers globally.
Millennials are the most interested group at 46%, as these consumers typically use multiple on-demand services across several devices. A similar trend can be observed in individual markets, where consumers in India (72%), Colombia (60%) and South Africa (58%) show the highest interest levels for such capabilities.
Average viewing times on mobile devices has grown by more than 200 hours a year since 2012, driving up overall TV and video viewing by an additional 1,5 hours a week. The surge in mobile viewing is offset with a decline in fixed screen viewing of 2,5 hours a week. However, the appetite for TV and video is not waning.
The weekly share of time spent watching TV and video on mobile devices has grown by 85% (2010-2016); on fixed screens it has gone down by 14% over the same period.
Meanwhile, 40% of consumers globally are “very interested” in a mobile data plan that includes unrestricted video streaming.
Mobile devices are ever present when watching video content on a TV screen, easily allowing consumers to perform other activities simultaneously. The second screen, such as a smartphone or tablet, is used by 64% of consumers every week to complement the content on the big TV screen, such as looking up an actor, checking ratings, posting comments on social media, and watching video content on multiple screens.
TV and video content has always had a significant social component, for example, discussing TV programmes while watching together at home. Today, those habits have migrated online, both for traditional TV content and for user-generated content. Millennials in particular have more pronounced second screen behaviour and these habits continue to evolve.
Since 2014, the habit of browsing the internet for content related to what is being watched on the big TV screen has increased by 35%, and watching two or more programmes at the same time has increased just as much. This growth can partly be attributed to the basic human need for instant gratification, as well as never wanting to have a dull moment.
A major issue, highlighted by the report, is low consumer satisfaction when trying to find something to watch. Forty-four percent of US consumers say they can’t find anything to watch on linear TV on a daily basis, an increase of 22% compared with last year (36%). In contrast, US consumers spend 45% more time choosing what to watch on VOD services than linear TV.
Paradoxically, 63% of consumers claim they are very satisfied with content discovery when it comes to their VOD service, while only 51% say the same for linear TV. The findings suggest that although the VOD discovery process is more time consuming than with linear broadcast TV, consumers rate it as less frustrating, as it implicitly promises the opportunity to find something they want to watch, when they want to watch it.
The total viewing time of on-demand content – such as streamed TV series, movies and other TV programs – has increased 50% since 2010. Strong indicators of this growing engagement and satisfaction with VOD services include:
* Consumers continue to embrace binge watching; 37 % watch two or more episodes of the same show in a row on a weekly basis, more than a fifth say they do this daily;
* Consumer spending on VOD services in the US has increased by over 60% since 2012, from $13 to $20 per month; and
* 40% of respondents say they watch YouTube daily; a substantial 10 percent of consumers say they watch YouTube for more than three hours a day.
Zeynep Ahmet, senior advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: “Based on our extensive research, we can see consumers increasingly ask for seamless access to high quality TV and video content, across services and devices. For consumers in general, and millennials in particular, being able to watch on the smartphone is key.
“Consumers not only want the shared, social broadcast TV experience, they also expect the flexibility of an à la carte on-demand media offering. Today’s experience is multifaceted and consumers want to create their own worlds of compelling, personalised content.”