Laptops, desktops preferred TV viewing devices

Signalling an accelerating shift in the digital video market consumer behaviour, the percentage of consumers who prefer watching TV shows on television sets plummeted by 55 per cent over the past year, from 52 per cent to 23 per cent, according to findings from the Accenture 2017 Digital Consumer Survey.

The global online survey of 26,000 consumers in 26 countries reveals that consumers increasingly prefer to watch TV shows on devices such as laptop and desktop personal computers and smartphones. More than four in 10 consumers (42 per cent) said they would rather view TV shows on a laptop or desktop, up from 32 per cent in last year’s survey. Thirteen per cent said they prefer watching TV shows on their smartphones, compared with 10 per cent last year.

The decline in TV viewing over the past year tracks with a four-year trend.  As recently as 2014, the survey revealed that nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of consumers preferred the TV set for viewing TV shows.

The most-recent findings, summarised in a new Accenture report, Winning Experiences in the New Video World, show that only one in five consumers (19 per cent) now prefer to watch sports games on their TVs, down from 38 per cent in the prior-year survey.

“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.”

The report reveals a particularly steep decline over the past year in the percentage of India’s consumers who prefer to view TV shows on TV sets. That percentage dropped 78 per cent, from 47 per cent to 10 per cent. In the United States, the number fell 57 per cent (from 59 per cent to 25 per cent), and in the UK, it dropped 55 per cent (from 56 per cent to 25 per cent).

“Driving this rapid shift in consumer preferences is the growing convenience, availability and quality of more personalised and compelling content on laptop and desktop personal computers and smartphones,” Mann added. “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.”

While consumers increasingly prefer to watch TV shows on laptops and desktops, the smartphone is becoming the preferred device for watching short video clips. In the most-recent survey, more than one-third (41 per cent) of consumers said they would rather view these clips on their mobile handsets, a substantial increase from 28 per cent last year. In contrast, the number of consumers who said they would rather watch video clips on their laptops and desktops dropped slightly, from 47 per cent to 44 per cent over the last year, while the number who said they prefer to view these clips on their TV sets dropped even more, from 16 per cent to only 5 per cent.

The report makes several recommendations for how media companies should respond to the shift in consumers’ video consumption habits from TV sets to other devices.  These include:

  • identifying new ways to engage consumers with more-personalised video content across more types of screens;
  • using more granular consumer data, segments and predictive analytics to help anticipate consumer preferences and find content they desire; and
  • focusing 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.

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