On-demand and DVRs boost TV viewing time

IHS has published a report looking at trends in TV viewing across the US and major Western European markets. While broadcast TV viewing is still on the up across many countries (particularly recession-hit Italy and Spain), many of the increases in hours spent watching TV have been driven by time-shifted TV and on-demand usage. In the US, UK and Germany, linear TV is now beginning to suffer the effects of consumers watching on other devices and platforms.

Some of the key findings of the report are outlined below:

On-demand and DVR viewing now makes up almost 1 in 6 TV minutes in the UK and US: Non-linear viewing has increased considerably over the past few years across all developed markets, but particularly in the UK and US. Individuals in the US and UK spent over 40 minutes per day watching on-demand or times-hifted TV in 2012. By contrast, Spanish individuals spent the least amount of time (across the markets assessed) watching on-demand or times-hifted TV, spending just ten minutes per day on average viewing TV via non-linear mechanisms.

The availability of subscription VoD (SVoD) services is beginning to have a significant effect on the average consumer’s viewing habits. The US is a good example of a market in which OTT SVoD services have had a noticeable impact – on-demand viewing has risen by 10 minutes per person per day between 2010 and 2012, mirrored by a decline in daily linear broadcast TV viewing of 13 minutes per person. Across the big-5 European markets (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy), subscription VoD services such as Netflix and Lovefilm are responsible for nearly 1 in every 7 minutes of online viewing of TV (long-form TV only, excluding UGC, clips etc.).

Linear broadcast viewing in the UK has declined for the third consecutive year, with increases in DVR time-shifting and catch-up TV services via pay-TV platforms failing to compensate – as a result overall TV viewing on the TV set in the UK actually fell in 2012, despite the presence of major televised events such as the London Olympics. A similar trend is emerging in the US, with linear TV viewing falling by 11 minutes in 2012, the largest drop yet recorded. Meanwhile, non-linear viewing in the US only rose by 8 minutes, with an average of 7 minutes a day spent watching TV on devices other than the television set.

In contrast to the UK and US, Italy and Spain have witnessed huge growth in linear broadcast TV viewing, due to the prolonged economic crisis increasing the average consumer’s ‘leisure’ hours. Individuals in both Italy and Spain now spend more than four hours a day (on average) viewing broadcast television. But TV companies are not benefiting from this growth, with spend cutbacks due to lower disposable income affecting both pay TV services and advertising-funded broadcasters. Pay-TV households in Italy contracted by 1.9 million between 2010 and 2012, and both Italy and Spain saw a fall in TV advertising revenues, of nearly €700 million over the two years as key media buyers cut back on advertising spend.

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