Research: Tablet TV not just for kids

The number of older viewers in the US watching TV shows and movies weekly on tablets has skyrocketed in the last year while usage among tablet owners under 45 has plateaued, according to an annual survey of consumer video viewing habits conducted by Altman Vilandrie & Company and Research Now.

The survey showed tablet owners 55 and older who watch TV and movies weekly on tablets jumped from 11 per cent last year to 19 per cent in 2012, while owners in the 45-54 range also saw large percentage gains (15 per cent to 24 per cent). The actual number all of older viewers (tablet and non-tablet owners) watching TV shows and movies weekly on tablets more than tripled since last year, though that group is still a small percentage of total tablet TV and movie viewers. Meanwhile, the tablet viewing habits of owners 44 and younger were virtually unchanged over the past year.

“While it may not make parents seem any cooler, older consumers more and more are adopting their kids’ viewing habits,” said Altman Vilandrie & Company Director Jonathan Hurd, who oversaw the survey.  “The biggest surprise in this year’s survey is how often older tablet owners are watching television shows or movies on their tablets.  Tablets and other devices are transforming how, when and where all of us watch television.”

Even when viewers tune in to a traditional TV set, their tablets are often next to them on the couch.  The survey shows that 47 per cent of 18- to 34-year-old tablet owners multitask with their tablet at least half of the time while watching TV.  Hurd noted that the TV networks and cable providers that integrate their TV services with Internet and social media options will have an advantage in attracting and retaining these customers.

Other key findings of the survey include:
∑ Younger consumers’ online viewing continues to rise sharply. Seventy-five percent of 18-24 year olds watch online TV shows or movies weekly, up from 62 per cent last year.
∑ News and TV comedies are the top choices for what people watch online, cited by 50 per cent and 40 per cent of online watchers respectively.
∑ Among those keeping their cable TV subscriptions, the desire to watch live news (77 per cent), new TV shows (66 per cent) and live sports (58 per cent) were the main reasons given.
The survey, conducted by Altman Vilandrie since 2010, also used discrete choice analysis to quantify consumers’ interest in add-on video and TV programming services.  Altman Vilandrie & Company has been using the survey results to explore optimal pricing models for online video.

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