Web impacts TV viewing trends

05 September 2011

STOCKHOLM: The web is exerting an increasingly strong influence on TV viewing trends, such as by encouraging the use of social media while watching broadcast content, a multimarket study has found.

Ericsson ConsumerLab, a unit of the technology firm, surveyed 13,000 people in 13 markets, featuring Brazil, China, Germany, Russia, South Korea, the UK and US.

Looking at the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Taiwan, 84% of participants watched scheduled linear television content at least once a week, down from 88% in 2010.

Elsewhere, 45% played back recorded broadcast TV with the same frequency, decreasing five points year on year, while 47% consumed short video clips on platforms like YouTube weekly or more, up by three points.

Of the total panel, 33% had streamed TV shows on demand, 29% had downloaded material, and 26% streamed films on demand, all rising by three points annually.

On-demand viewing took a 44% share of all TV and video consumption in Spain, declining to 41% for the US, 40% in the UK, 38% in Sweden and 28% in Germany.

Members of the German audience dedicated 25 hours to television and video a week, reaching 24 hours in the UK, 23 hours in Spain, 22 hours in the US, and 21 hours in Sweden.

Among the additional activities undertaken while watching TV were talking to others, browsing the web and eating, all mentioned by over 60% of respondents.

Reading or studying, online chat and gaming were referred to by more than 20% of the sample, compared with scores topping 40% for talking on the phone and using social media.

The most important TV features for users were standard or high definition, raised by a majority of those polled, and "no commercials", cited by four in ten people questioned.

A similar number named personalised television and video content, whereas time-shifting proved attractive to around a third of interviewees, a fifth of which were enthused by web-connected sets, and 10% by apps.

Some 30% of viewers would be willing to pay for movies released directly to TV or HD picture quality, a quarter would do so to avoid ads or for time shifting tools, but only 5% were likely to splash out on apps.

Data sourced from Ericsson ConsumerLab; additional content by Warc staff