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TV decline accelerates

News, 14 April 2015

NEW YORK: Television is falling out of favour, experiencing double-digit declines in usage around the world as consumers increasingly turn to various digital devices to view video content according to a new study.

The world's love affair with the TV may be coming to an end, declared consulting firm Accenture as it unveiled the findings of online research conducted among 24,000 consumers in 24 countries for its Digital Video and the Connected Consumer report.

It said that video consumption – anytime, anywhere – has become mainstream and is accelerating the decline of traditional TV viewing. Specifically, viewership for long-form video content, such as movies and television on a TV screen, declined by 13% globally over the past year and by 11% in the US.

Similarly significant declines were noted for a category thought to be relatively immune from this trend: sports viewership on TV screens declined by 10% globally and by 9% percent in the US.

And this development was evident among all age brackets, although, as one might expect, it was most obvious among the younger ones.

Thus, 14 to 17-year-olds globally were abandoning the TV screen at the rate of 33% for movies and television shows and 26% for sporting events.

This rate of decline slowed among 18-34 year olds to 14% for movies and television shows and 12% for sporting events. And the next age group, 35-54 year olds, showed a similar drop-off, at 11% and 9% respectively.

The over 55s were the slowest to change, with just 6% moving away from the TV to watch movies and shows, and only 1% doing the same for sports.

Gavin Mann, Accenture's global broadcast industry lead, described this as "a definitive pendulum shift away from traditional TV viewing" and pointed to improved streaming and longer battery life as important factors.

"The second screen viewing experience is where the content creators, broadcasters and programmers will succeed or fail," he stated.

But consumers were not enjoying a trouble-free experience on those second screens. Just over half of those watching online video (51%) complained about a poor internet service, while 42% complained about the volume of advertising. In fact, respondents indicated a willingness to pay for their online video service if it included greater content variety, less advertising and better video quality.

The research also found that respondents showed a preference for the dominant TV broadcaster, satellite and cable providers over newer internet providers.

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff