TV viewing habits evolve

26 November 2010

LIBERTYVILLE: Consumers are viewing increasing amounts of broadcast material through devices like laptops and mobile phones, but generally remain "loyal to the television set", a multimarket study has found.

Motorola Mobility and Vanson Bourne surveyed 7,500 people from 13 countries - including China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UAE, UK and US - to assess their current attitudes and habits in this area.

They reported that free-to-air services were available to 67% of participants, compared with 57% concerning paid-for equivalents.

However, stations in the latter category delivered the strongest preference scores among the panel.

On average, the typical individual spent 17 hours a week watching TV and video, hitting 21 hours in Japan and North America, measured against 13 hours in South Korea.

Linear broadcasts, either gratis or subscription-based, held a dominant position, although 34% of respondents equally mixed scheduled shows on one hand, and web, on-demand and time-shifted material on the other.

Elsewhere, 42% of contributors had spoken about programmes and videos via email, social media, instant messaging sites and similar offerings in real time.

Audience members from China, Russia and the UAE recorded the highest levels of uptake, declining to 16% in Japan.

Within this group as a whole, 22% regularly consumed TV content while browsing social networks, peaking in China, Russia and the UAE but falling to 16% in Japan.

Some 61% displayed a willingness to pay a premium for platforms facilitating such activity, and 58% would switch providers to access integrated services.

Three-quarters of interviewees already owned an HDTV set or planned to buy one in the next 18 months, and 25% expected to acquire a 3DTV unit during the same period.

Just over two-thirds of those polled believed it was "quite" or "very" important be able to watch free content on devices beyond than their main TV set at home, as did 39% regarding subscription alternatives.

Given this, Motorola Mobility argued that the primary television set should retain its status as the fulcrum for paid services in the short term at least.

Roughly a quarter of consumers wanted to stream free content on the move, rising to 49% in China.

Shopping through TV sets was appealing to 42%, beating chat on 30% and social media on 27%, while logging on to Twitter posted 17%.

One in five thought a "recommendation engine" tracking their habits and suggesting relevant material could be useful, and there was also interest in gadgets consolidating digital films, photos and music through the TV.

"The huge increase in the availability of video content is leading to viewers tiering their viewing habits in terms of preference, notionally based around payment," said Bill Ogle, chief marketing officer, Motorola Mobility.

"They're watching content on laptops and other devices, but they are still staying loyal to the television set. This is a powerful message for the service providers. Stickiness does exist, providing all parts of the offering are attractive to subscribers."

Data sourced from Motorola Mobility; additional content by Warc staff