For the first time, Mediabug Wave research from consultancy firm Decipher has shown the impact of new low-cost streaming devices such as Amazon Fire Stick, Roku and Google Chromecast in driving OTT VoD use onto the big screen in UK television homes.
Now in its fifth year, the bi-annual report is based on an online consumer survey of 3,000 UK consumers, and reports on how new technology is impacting media consumption.
Having previously reported a slowdown in the uptake of services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and NOW TV, Wave 8 has shown that this was short-lived and that take up of new devices was a significant factor in the turnaround. This return to growth means that now 30 per cent of online UK consumers claim to have an SVoD subscription, up from 23 per cent in Q1 2015.
Netflix is still the main provider, with now 23 per cent of online consumers claiming to have a subscription. Amazon Prime Instant Video saw its claimed subscriptions rise by 5 percentage points since Q3 last year to 13 per cent, and NOW TV subs grew by 2 percentage points and is now at 6 per cent. DisneyLife enters the SVoD market at 2 per cent, having launched in November 2015.
Devices that enable OTT video streaming to TV sets (such as Apple TV, NOW TV box, and the Amazon Fire TV stick) have appeared as significant drivers of uptake for the first time. All devices showed increased ownership since Q3, 2015. The most significant uptake was shown by the relatively new Amazon Fire TV Stick, which saw claimed ownership increase from 2 per cent to 6 per cent of online consumers – representing roughly 1.4 million homes. The larger (but more expensive) Amazon Fire Box (similar in size and shape to Apple TV) sold 450K devices over the same period. These have proved popular because they allow a user to access Netflix and BBC iPlayer as well as use Amazon’s own video services. Their promotion by Jeremy Clarkson on TV during the period must have helped.
The popularity of these devices is impacting other devices that had previously allowed viewers to access SVoD services and put them on the big screen. The big loser in this is the PC, with share of time spent watching online VoD via a PC or laptop down five points to 21 per cent (as a share of all online VoD viewing). However, games consoles also declined from 15 per cent to 13 per cent of total online VoD viewing.
iTunes remains the leading ‘download to own’ provider at 12 per cent, however Mediabug figures have shown little growth in reach since 2013. In contrast its competition is closing the gap, with gains from Google Play, Amazon, Sky Store and Sky Buy & Keep. Sales of ‘download to own’ formats via Amazon Instant Video recorded the biggest rise, with a 3 per cent point growth year on year. New ‘download to own’ service ‘BBC Store’ debuted this wave, with claimed use from 2 per cent of the online UK population.
According to Dr. Hamish McPharlin, Director of Decipher Media Research, Mediabug is showing that the internet video market, while still growing, is already beginning to evolve. “The popularity of OTT devices is unlocking a larger user-base for online VoD, and over the next few waves we expect this to continue as both competition and average broadband speed increases,” he advised.
Other findings from Mediabug Wave 8 include:
Mediabug’s ‘Share of Usage’ calculations have, for the first time since Mediabug tracking began, registered a recovery of Live Broadcast share of viewing. The calculation of survey data has traditionally shown live TV viewing as declining, but in Wave 8 Live TV rose 1 percentage point year on year; registering a 72 per cent share of longform viewing against other activities such as PVR Recordings, SVoD viewing, and Online Film Rentals. It had gained share at the expense of Online Catch Up and PVR viewing
Films are no longer the dominant format for VoD viewing via set top box. 34 per cent of the UK watched a UK TV drama in the last month, versus 32 per cent watching a film. US TV dramas also continue to grow; rising +2 per cent to 25 per cent. These results appear to reflect the recent popularity of high quality TV programming, and its usage as an appealing in-home consumption format.
Many video apps support simulcast – the ability to stream live TV channels through the app. Mediabug analysis shows that apps created by TV platforms such as Sky and Virgin have a higher proportion of simulcast viewers than apps created by broadcasters such as the BBC or ITV. In contrast, apps created by broadcasters (such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and All 4) are more likely to be used for viewing VoD than simulcast, with up to 8 per cent of UK consumers who use VoD on a broadcast app never simulcasting a live channel.
iTunes remains the leading EST provider at 12 per cent, however Mediabug figures have shown little growth in reach since 2013. In contrast its competition is closing the gap, with gains from Google Play, Amazon, Sky Store and Sky Buy & Keep. Amazon Instant Video recorded the biggest rise, with +3pp YOY. New EST service ‘BBC Store’ debuted this wave, with claimed use from 2 per cent of the online UK population.