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There's nothing on TV, say US viewers

News, 04 November 2016

GLOBAL: An increasing proportion of US consumers complain about not being able to find anything to watch on linear TV and are likely to spend more time searching for content on VOD services, a new study has found.

The seventh edition of the Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report, from the Swedish communications business, was based on interviews with 30,000 individuals in 24 countries, all of whom had a broadband internet connection at home and watched TV and video at least once a week.

Some 44% US consumers said they couldn't find anything to watch on linear TV on a daily basis, up from a figure of 36% in last year's report. Accordingly, more are turning to VOD services, and spending 45% more time choosing what to watch there.

Paradoxically, 63% of consumers claimed they were very satisfied with content discovery when it comes to their VOD service, while only 51% said the same for linear TV.

The findings suggest, said Ericsson ConsumerLab, that although the VOD discovery process is more time consuming than with linear broadcast TV, consumers rate it as less frustrating since it implicitly promises the opportunity to find something they want to watch, when they want to watch it.

The report also noted growing engagement and satisfaction with VOD services, as consumer spending here has risen by more than 60% since 2012 and as consumers continue to embrace binge watching (37% watched two or more episodes of the same show in a row on a weekly basis).

More and more of that viewing is being done on mobile devices: in the US, 20% of mobile viewing was found to be paid-for content using services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

It's a global trend that is only being held back by data pricing: globally, 40% of consumers expressed themselves "very interested" in a mobile data plan that includes unrestricted video streaming.

"For consumers in general, and millennials in particular, being able to watch on the smartphone is key," said Zeynep Ahmet, Senior Advisor, Ericsson ConsumerLab.

"Consumers not only want the shared, social broadcast TV experience, they also expect the flexibility of an à la carte on-demand media offering. Today's experience is multifaceted and consumers want to create their own worlds of compelling, personalized content."

Data sourced from Ericsson ConsumerLab; additional content by Warc staff