— Reports of the
demise of primetime TV are premature, according to data from Ericsson’s
ConsumerLab. Of thousands queried worldwide, 85 percent said they watch
appointment TV in the evening at home.
“Linear TV still has an important role for consumers, and we don’t see any
decline in frequency of usage,” said Anders Erlandsson, senior researcher at
ConsumerLab’s latest Insight Summary Report emphasized the viewing behavioral
phenomena du jour
, such as time- and
place-shifting, but the numbers indicated that the boob tube in the living room
remains at the top of the charts. Survey respondents watched TV on TV, at home,
an average of nearly 14 hours a week. Desktop watching was next at less than
half that amount. Smartphone viewing comprised less than four hours a week.
The primary difference is that people are using mobile devices while
they’re watching traditional,
linear TV. (1-3-9 Labs in East Sussex,
England, found the same thing. See “Watching
“The average home entertainment setup is moving away from using separate TVs in
each room,” the report said. “Instead, a growing number of households use a
large main TV supplemented by a number of mobile devices that provide access to
services from anywhere in the home.”
TV is evolving into a multiscreen, multitasking activity: 75 percent of
respondents said they multitasked with mobile devices while watching; 25
percent watched video on a device while also watching TV. The top activity was
reading email (63 percent) followed by random web surfing (56 percent);
intentional web surfing (49 percent); using social media (40 percent); chatting
about the show (29 percent); competing with others about
the show (14 percent); watching the same show from different
camera angles (14 percent); voting (13 percent); betting (13 percent).
The preferred content on linear TV was live events, which were more closely
linked to social viewing. On-demand content was more likely to be bounced in
terms of time and place. One changing characteristic of on-demand viewing is the
migration away from physical media. Streamed TV and video showed slight growth
over the last two years, while downloaded and recorded content declined.
On-demand content was also subject to place-shifting.
“The continue viewing function of many on-demand services is driving a new
phenomenon known as ‘place-shifted’ viewing,” the report said. “This involves
consumers watching one piece of content over a period, in a number of different
situations, by using the same service on different devices. It enables them to
break up the viewing of the content and turn a single episode or film into a
mini-series—for example, they may watch the first five minutes on thee bus,
followed by half an hour at lunch and then finish the episode while waiting for
friends at a café.”
Time- and place-shifting was not relegated to the young and hip, as is
typically assumed: 41 percent of the 65-69 set in the ConsumerLabs sample
watched streamed or time-shifted material more than once a week.
“Previously, we have seen rapid growth in on-demand viewing,” Erlandsson said.
“Now, we are seeing that trend taper off somewhat, but among people aged 55-59,
the growth is dramatic—with an 18 percent increase in on-demand viewing more
than weekly since 2011.”
The data also gave credence to cord-cutting: 7 percent of respondents
“eliminated” pay TV subscriptions in 2012. Another 11 percent did likewise in
this year’s sample.
One more facet researchers explored was “the optimal TV and video experience.”
A the top of the list—ad-free content—followed by HD quality, on-demand
availability, simplicity and à la carte availability. The least-desired
functions included personalized on-screen apps and widgets, video telephony, standard
TV apps, multiple camera angles and interactivity.
“The quest has begun to become the first easy to use, à la carte TV solution
provider that aggregates consumer TV and video needs,” Erlandsson said.
The research was carried out via 1,000 online interviews with people age 16-59
in each of 15 countries: the United States, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, the
United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Taiwan and South
Korea. Another 2,300 people 60-69 were queried in the same countries.