Consumers increasingly embracing streaming

According to part two of the results from the second NATPE||Content First and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) joint research study on consumer attitudes toward television viewing, greater opportunities exist for content creators and content rights holders as consumers continue to embrace and seek out streamed content. The study found that viewers who stream TV programmes say they have more positive impressions of the quality and variety of TV content available to them, and are more willing to try a greater variety of programmes.

CEA and NATPE commissioned the study, conducted by E-Poll Market Research, to evaluate the TV content distribution landscape, explore the dynamics at play against the background of exploding consumer choices, and determine how consumers find TV content and view it across different platforms. The results were presented during a special panel session at NATPE||Miami.

“If a great show is created but no one is there to see it, then what’s the point? It’s critical that we understand the path of content and new ways to market and reach audiences that have scores of new platform alternatives, so that programmers can maximise sampling and repeat viewership, as well as sustain the costs of production,” commented NATPE President and CEO Rod Perth.

“Our joint study confirms that consumers are increasingly embracing streaming as a means of discovering and viewing TV programming,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “As content distribution evolves, device manufacturers are launching a variety of innovations that deliver richer experiences and empower consumers with ‘anytime/anywhere’ access to their favourite television programmes.”

Highlights from the study include:

Where are viewers going to find content?

  • Consumers seek out TV programming through many more outlets than in the past with 71 per cent saying they have watched streamed full length TV programmes in the past 6 months. Top sources for full length TV programmes include Netflix (40 per cent), YouTube (26 per cent), network websites (25 per cent), sites that offer free programmes (22 per cent), and network or service provider apps (12 per cent). Nearly 2 in 10 (19 per cent) have watched TV programmes on VoD in past 6 months as well.

Who’s watching what?

Movies, Comedy and Drama are the top three TV programme genres watched by viewers in broadband households. Significant differences exist among demographics in terms of preferred genres and how programmes are accessed:

  • Comedy is the top genre watched regularly by Millennials (74 per cent vs. 70 per cent for Gen Xers, and 68 per cent for Boomers). Millennials are most likely to seek out comedy through streamed sources (57 per cent first go to Netflix).

  • Gen Xers and Boomers are most likely to watch movies (76 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively) and Dramas (69 per cent for both Gen Xers and Boomers vs. 59 per cent for Millennials). Gen Xers’ first source for viewing TV programming is Live TV (62 per cent), followed by DVR (53 per cent).

  • Boomers differ from all other groups with a high affinity for live programming including local news (76 per cent) and to a lesser extent National News and Weather. Live TV is by far the first choice for viewing TV among this group (77 per cent).

How are viewers discovering content?

Viewers who stream programming rely more heavily on recommendations than in the past in both learning about and deciding which television programmes to watch. In particular, word of mouth recommendations and data driven recommendations through SVoD services have risen in importance among Millennials in discovering and navigating content that they find relevant to themselves.

  • Word of mouth is of high importance in driving Millennials’ viewing decisions (77 per cent say it is “very/somewhat important”) as well as Gen Xers (79 per cent). Millennials often reference the combination of seeing advertising and then hearing friends discussing or family recommendations in their decision to watch.

  • Among Millennials, and SVOD subscribers in general, the “recommended for you feature” based on prior shows watched also stands out as an important source of new programme information (52 per cent “very/somewhat important” among Millennials and 56 per cent for SVOD subscribers).

Content discovery behaviour is driving sampling, loyalty and increased cross-promotional opportunities. As viewers find out about new programming on their streaming services, they are driven to sample and watch new shows that they would otherwise never have seen or known about.

  • Nearly half of SVoD subscribers say they have found new programming through streaming that they then go on to watch on live TV (48 per cent).

  • Over 7 in 10 viewers say networks they already watch are an important source of information about new programming. Cross promotion of programmes among viewers of specific shows by content creators provides an easy way to capitalise on this behaviour.

  • Discovery of content via word of mouth recommendations creates stronger loyalty among viewers of shows as the ability to discuss programmes with friends and family who are also watching is considered an important part of the viewing experience.

How do viewers perceive the quality and variety of programming today?

  • Across all platforms and types of viewing, over half of the viewers surveyed (56 per cent) say they are watching a greater variety of TV programming now than in the past, and this measure increases to 60 per cent among Millennials.

  • SVoD subscribers are more positive than non-subscribers about programme quality with 60 per cent saying “there are more high quality programmes available” (vs. 51 per cent non-subscribers) and 70 per cent say there is a “greater variety of programmes than in the past” (vs. 63 per cent of non-subscribers).

  • SVoD subscribers also say that they have increased their viewing of TV shows as a result of being able to stream (66 per cent). In addition, the ability to “binge view” programmes and “catch up” on episodes of programmes can fuel greater loyalty to programmes and keep viewers watching in the future.

NATPE and CEA released the results of the first part of their joint study earlier this month at the International CES consumer technologies show. These initial results found that while the television continues to provide the best quality picture and viewing experience, the way content is being discovered and consumed is changing dramatically, especially for millennials.

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