Research: TV Everywhere shifting from occasional to frequent use

CTAM and Hub Entertainment Research have released results of a recent tracking study on TV Everywhere (TVE) viewing, based on reported consumer data collected continuously across a six-month span, August 2016 to January 2017.

This new approach removes the volatility that occurs when taking an annual snapshot at a single moment in time, says the companies, providing CTAM members with a more nuanced look at who is streaming TV Everywhere content, the impact on customer perceptions, and the potential of instant sign on solutions.

At this point, the industry has accomplished the deployment and adoption goals set by member companies when the CTAM initiative launched in 2014.  Each of the top MVPDs, 400 smaller independent cable companies, and more than 100 networks are delivering the experience across dozens of devices.  Aided awareness of the concept of streaming content as a benefit of a TV provider subscription stands at 73 per cent among cable subscribers (Ages 18-64).  Furthermore, in January 2017, half (51 per cent) of cable subscribers reported viewing TV Everywhere content in the past month and 56 per cent reported viewing in the past six months.

“Today we’re looking more closely at share of viewing in the now-crowded streaming universe, trends in medium and heavy usage, and understanding the differences among viewing segments,” said Anne Cowan, CCO, CTAM. “This research provides valuable insights into the subtleties of TV Everywhere consumption that will lead to stronger marketing and communications, and more deeply engaged viewers.”

For example, the current research shows that viewing TV Everywhere content is sticky.  Among all pay-TV subscribers who view TV Everywhere content, 24 per cent report being heavy users (watch daily or several times per week), a significant increase from 17 per cent in January 2016. Additionally, among Millennial pay-TV subscribers, 33 per cent report being heavy users (up from 26 per cent in January 2016), with GenXers (A35-49) at 24 per cent (up from 20 per cent) and, notably, Boomers (A50-64) at 19 per cent (up from 9 per cent).

“Although streaming video-on-demand services get the lion’s share of media attention, the fact is that more pay-TV subscribers use TV Everywhere than any other single source of online TV content, after Netflix.” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub Entertainment Research. “What’s more, the shift we’re seeing from occasional to frequent use suggests that the experience delivers strong value to consumers who try it.”

This study is among the first to look at the potential of Home Based Authentication and Single Sign On as a simple solution for those who have found the sign-in process a barrier to use – something of paramount importance to the industry.  The data show that 42 per cent of cable subscribers have heard of in-home automatic sign in and 59 per cent say it would make them more likely to view TVE content.  Similarly, while awareness of out-of-home single sign in is slightly lower at 38 per cent, 54 per cent report that it would make them more likely to use.

Additional highlights from the report follow.

  • There are significant peaks and valleys in usage across time and, although the research doesn’t identify direct cause-and-effect conclusions, anecdotally these fluctuations reinforce known TVE viewing drivers, such as live sports and news, new season premieres, and periods of increased marketing.
  • Within the usage fluctuations, the research reveals differences among audience segments.  There are greater shifts among Older cable subscribers (A35-64), whose viewing is more situational, peaking at 50 per cent around the 2016 Olympics, as opposed to Millennial viewers (A18-34), whose viewing is more habitual and higher on average, peaking at 63 per cent in January 2017.
  • TVE use among the Hispanic segment of MVPD subscribers (A18-74) is higher than average at 55 per cent viewing in the past month, and use is also higher than average among African Americans at 59 per cent viewing in past month.
  • In turn, TVE has a substantial impact among Hispanic consumers with nearly seven in ten (68 per cent) reporting that they have a more positive perception of their provider and 67 per cent find more value for the money because of the availability of TVE.  More so, 79 per cent of those who speak both English and Spanish equally report finding more value for the money due to TVE.
  • Nearly half (49 per cent) of cable subscribers report that the availability of TVE makes them feel more positive about their provider.  Further, these consumers are more likely than average (44 per cent vs 30 per cent) to report that customer service from their provider has improved in the past year.
  • The availability of TV Everywhere has a corresponding effect on value perceptions. More than half (54 per cent) of cable subscribers say they get more value for the money from their cable TV subscription and 62 per cent report they feel that they get more value for the money from their premium network subscription.

The study was produced by Hub Research and comprised of an online survey, conducted on a continuous basis from August 2016 to January 2017, among 3,513 respondents who were:

  • Aged 18-74
  • MVPD subscribers
  • Watched at least 5 hours of TV per week (by any means)
  • Had high speed Internet access at home

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