Study Shows Live Content Still Important

Last week Ericsson's ConsumerLabs issued a news release on a study of consumers' TV behavior.

The good news for broadcasters is the study showed that at least once a week, 93 percent of the people surveyed in China, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States are still watching scheduled "linear" broadcast television. However, the Ericsson study adds, "the role of broadcast TV is changing owing to the introduction of new distribution channels."

The study found more than 70 percent of viewers surveyed are streaming, downloading, or watching recorded broadcast TV on a weekly basis.

Ericsson noted that live content "is still very important to consumers," however being able to decide when and how to watch television will impact on the role "of linear or scheduled broadcast content."

"The conclusion of our study is that the consumption is fragmented and complex," said Anders Erlandsson, senior advisor at the Ericsson ConsumerLab. "The consumer is looking for a solution that can offer them the freedom to choose what they want, when they want it and how they want it. The user experience is in focus, rather than the technical platform."

Slides of the Ericsson presentation provide more detail on the survey. One slide, "Weekly use of different TV/video distribution channels," shows that the top three distribution channels are "scheduled broadcast TV" (93 percent), "recorded broadcast TV" (62 percent) and "short video clips" (57 percent). Next was VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray at 48 percent, followed by streamed video at 45 percent.

When viewers were asked what they considered the most important features, in television delivery, about 28 percent responded "a lot of broadcast TV channels." Another 45 percent rated freedom from ads and commercials as important, while 43 percent considered the ability to timeshift content a major factor. Interactive TV was last, with only about 6 percent of those polled considering it important.

The study covered a large sample of people worldwide. For U.S. consumers, ConsumerLabs said the study is representative of 86 percent of the population between 15 and 59 years of age.

By identifying what features consumer value and will pay for when watching TV, the Ericsson report should be useful in helping broadcasters determine what they need to do to hold onto viewers and successfully roll out mobile DTV in the United States.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.