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TV viewing shifts dramatically to digital devices

News, 25 April 2017
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GLOBAL: The percentage of consumers who prefer watching TV shows on television sets has halved in just one year, according to a new global survey, which claims that laptops and desktops have overtaken TVs as the preferred devices for watching TV shows.

Consulting firm Accenture polled 26,000 consumers in 26 countries for its 2017 Digital Consumer Survey and found that more than four in ten consumers (42%) said they would rather view TV shows on a laptop or desktop, up from 32% in last year's survey.

Thirteen percent said they preferred watching TV shows on their smartphones, compared with 10% last year.

"The dominance of the TV set as the undisputed go-to entertainment device is ending," said Gavin Mann, global managing director for Accenture's broadcast business.

"While a great number of people still watch plenty of TV shows on TV sets, our research uncovers a rapid acceleration in their preference for viewing on other digital devices — especially laptops, desktops and smartphones."

In the United States, the proportion preferring to watch TV shows on TV sets fell from 59% to 25%, a pattern that was repeated in the UK, down from 55% to 25%.

But the biggest shift came in India, where the survey reported a 78% decline, from 47% to just 10%.

"The massive and accelerating push by communications and media companies to provide ubiquitous content – TV everywhere including over-the-top – has empowered consumers to access high-quality content across multiple devices," Mann noted.

The smartphone is emerging as the go-to device for watching short video clips: 41% of respondents consumers said they would rather view these clips on their mobile handsets, a substantial increase from 28% last year.

The proportion preferring their laptops and desktops for viewing short clips dipped from 47% to 44%, while those utilising primarily TV sets plunged from 16% to only 5%.

The report recommended that media companies respond by identifying new ways to engage consumers with more personalized video content across more types of screens.

They should also use more granular consumer data, segments and predictive analytics to help anticipate consumer preferences and find content they desire, Accenture said.

And they need to focus more on their target audiences to identify exactly what content their viewers want to receive – and when, for how long and on what type of screen.

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by WARC staff

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