Older viewers embrace catch-up, but not SVoD

A study of TV viewing habits in 13 countries by Ampere Analysis reveals that people aged 55-64 are yet to embrace SVoD services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, preferring linear TV channels and their catch-up services.

In the US, only two in 10 people aged 55-64 in the viewed Netflix in the past month, compared to four in 10 viewers overall. In the UK, just one in 10 people aged 55-64 viewed Netflix in the past month, and in Germany just one in 20. With 55-64 year olds representing one fifth (19 per cent) of the total under-65 audience, this is a large and affluent group, so when will the SVoD providers capture their attention?

Part of the challenge for subscription VoD service providers in reaching this group is that unlike younger people, for those aged 55-64, most TV and movie content viewing is on a television set. Between 6am and 9am, 80 per cent of their viewing (self-reported) is on a TV set. So, although they own other connected devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs, they rarely view content on them.

The facts:

  • Older viewers are substantially less likely to have SVoD (33 per cent less likely), premium channels (31 per cent less likely) or music services such as Spotify (65 per cent less likely)
  • Services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are yet to take off among viewers aged 55-64. In the UK, just 13 per cent of older viewers watch Netflix and 8 per cent use Amazon
  • However, the catch-up services of the main national broadcasters are enjoyed by older audiences. In the UK, 53 per cent of older viewers watched BBC iPlayer, and 34 per cent watched ITV Hub in the last month – that’s just one percentage point difference from the average viewer (where it’s 54 per cent for BBC iPlayer and 33 per cent for ITV Hub). 19 per cent watched All4 compared to 28 per cent of all viewers, and 17 per cent watched My5 compared to 18 per cent of all viewers
  • In Germany, ZDF’s catch-up service ZDF Mediathek was watched by 25 per cent of 55-64 year olds in the last month, compared to 22 per cent of all viewers. For RTL Now, it’s 7 per cent and 10 per cent respectively
  • Globally current affairs, news, documentaries, crime and thrillers are the genres of choice for older viewers. 18-24s prefer horror and comedy, sci-fi and fantasy
  • In terms of the times they watch TV, their behaviour matches that of the total viewing audience, with most viewing during the peak hours of 8pm to 12am – a contrast to younger viewers, who increasingly use connected devices to view during the daytime

Richard Broughton, Director at Ampere Analysis says: “Older viewers are often an overlooked audience segment, despite representing a fifth of target viewers (and a sixth of all adults) – and an increasingly wealthy portion of the population. Smart TV penetration is reasonably high amongst this group, and they are using the broadcasters’ catch-up services already, so it should be possible to encourage them to take SVoD services. The key to understanding the dynamics of this hugely varied group is to get the content offer, package, price and message right and introduce them to the world of SVoD. Content suiting the genre interests of this group (such as Netflix’s ‘The Crown’) is already beginning to filter through to services and will do much to improve the saleability of SVoD to this audience.”

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