Despite Growth of Streaming Content, Traditional TV Viewing Still Rules
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/3/2012 2:32:04 PM
The study finds that 79% of those watching TV content do it through a cable or satellite box either live, time-shifted or through VOD. This is compared to the 56% who watch it streaming through a computer, 48% who watch it streaming through an Internet-connected device or 29% who watch it streamed via a mobile device. The overlapping percentages occur because consumers do use more than one method of watching content.
What continues to keep the traditional TV experience on top? The study finds that "consumers overwhelmingly like the experience of watching [content on] a TV set," with 56% saying they prefer watching content on a TV set most. Only 8% say they prefer watching TV content via a streaming service app on a gaming console connected to the TV, 7% say they prefer watching streaming content on a website and 4% say they prefer watching TV content through a streaming service app on an Internet-enabled set-top box or Blu-ray disc player connected to the TV.
Dicing the numbers further, 43% of TV viewers "completely agree they prefer watching TV shows on their television rather than through other smaller screens," the study finds. "It is the quality of the television experience that sets it apart from other screens. Consumers feel all other screens are inferior to the television set and that the quality they offer cannot compare."
Regardless of the continued growth in numbers of viewing options, "The fact that viewers still enjoy the habitual nature of television would suggest that future changes in behavior will be more evolutionary than revolutionary," write Discovery's Pam Pearce, senior director of custom and digital research, and David Ernst, VP of digital research, in a blog about the study.
Consumers also believe watching content on TV is most convenient and that traditional TV provides better picture and sound quality than other devices, the survey shows. Even among consumers who watch streamed content through apps on Internet-enabled TVs or devices connected to the TV, 38% agree that they prefer traditional TV.
The study was conducted by Interpret in June 2012 and includes data gathered online by polling 1,170 U.S. consumers aged 18-49 who own a television and another device capable of streaming television content. Respondents selected were also screened to ensure that they are regular watchers of TV content.
While non-linear methods of TV viewing are popular, with only about 25% of viewers saying they use only their cable/satellite box to watch content, "there is no single platform whose current reach comes close to matching that of the TV box," the numbers show.
The study also offers that, "streaming's market share is spread across dozens of platforms, from individual network sites and applications, to aggregator services such as Netflix and Hulu, to services found on other entertainment and mobile devices." The study adds, "Connected devices, computers, smartphones and tablets serve increasingly converged roles in a household, but with the adoption of new devices, the threat that each would usurp part of the TV's role has been unfounded."
Having a set schedule to watch TV content is apparently also something consumers still enjoy, and the social aspect of the TV experience also keeps it popular. Thirty-four percent of consumers "completely agree" that they watch their TV sets because they can watch with friends and family, which is harder to do on a computer, and arguably harder still or a mobile device.
Consumers who watch streaming video on other devices say it offers more flexibility than the home TV box. Key draws to streaming video on digital devices include: being able to pause shows and come back to them; being able to catch up on missed episodes; watching shows not received via a cable or satellite service; and watching repeat episodes of favorite shows. Of course most of that could be done via TV box VOD services.
"Ad avoidance is another reason why consumers find streaming appealing, but it is not the primary reason, despite being trumpeted as such during the advent of streaming," the study says. "Although between one-quarter and one-third of streamers (through different platforms) completely agree they stream television content to avoid watching commercials completely, there are several other factors around the flexibility of streaming that take precedence." The study concludes that it is unlikely that viewers would have embraced streaming video platforms solely to skip ads.
Regarding mobile viewing, 39% of mobile streamers watch TV shows while waiting or killing time and 34% do so while in transit. "Given these short bursts of use, long-form content is not ideal and would be harder to consume," the study says.
The most popular categories of TV shows watched via mobile are sitcoms and adult animated shows.
"The underlying reason why consumers use multiple devices is because they have to," the study suggests. It also says as consumers become more accustomed to being connected all the time, "they are treating their smartphones and tablet computers as their TVs when they are not home."
"Audiences will continue to splinter between a growing number of choices [that] will also accumulate over longer periods of time, stretching over days and weeks as they exert even more control over when they want to see content," say Pearce and Ernst in their blog. "More creative ways to extend viewers' love affair with their TV sets are needed as audiences flirt with other ways of accessing content. In doing so, programmers and advertisers can develop stronger and deeper connections with audiences as they migrate across the multitude of devices, allowing viewers to be engaged with programming and brand messaging virtually all of the time."
The entire Discovery/Interpret study can be found here.
This study is completely flawed!
Licencing restrictions and exclusivity agreements taint pretty much every repondent's answer. People don't PREFER to watch programming on inferior devices, they are DRAWN to watching on an inferior device because of the availability. Time-shifted viewing starts splintering based on the shows that you want to watch and where they are available.
I forgot to set my DVR & missed the premiere episode "Elementary". So I won't see it on my TV via TiVo. I don't have a cable subscription with VOD, so I won't see it on tv that way. It's not on Netflix, which is on my blu-ray player, hooked up to the TV. It's not on Hulu+ (available via TiVo) & it's not on Hulu free -- which is web-browser only. Where is it available? CBS.com -- which I can play on a computer. So I can hook up a computer to my tv to view it, or I can just watch it on my computer where it is.
I don't PREFER to watch it this way, it is just a point where I arrived through process of elimination.
If Discovery wanted an accurate study, they could licence a program on all platforms, and track the viewership of each method.
FrankM - 10/3/2012 6:02:57 PM EDT
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