Study: Top 5 ways consumers prioritise TV time

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Today’s consumers have instant access to an unprecedented range of screen-based entertainment options – from live and on-demand TV, to videos on YouTube, to gaming, to social media.  One thing that has not expanded, however: consumers’ disposable time.

A study from The Hub entitled The Battle for Share of Mind takes a look at how consumers allocate their time, and what makes them choose some categories or providers over others.

1. Across all age groups, watching TV shows accounts for more screen time than any other form of entertainment:   Respondents estimate that 40 per cent of their entertainment time is spent watching TV shows: more than three times the amount they spend on either social media or watching YouTube videos.

2. But among younger consumers, gaming and YouTube are undermining TV’s dominance: Just 19 per cent of entertainment time among 18-24 year olds is spent watching TV shows, vs. a total of 43 per cent spent on online videos and gaming.

3. Scripted shows make up the largest portion of consumers’ TV viewing. Nearly half of viewers’ TV time is spent watching scripted shows (45 per cent)—compared to 16 per cent for sports, 15 per cent for news, 15 per cent for unscripted shows, and 8 per cent for other genres. But among men, time spent watching scripted shows is significantly lower than average (37 per cent); time watching sports is significantly higher (24 per cent).

4. The “Big Three” SVoDs serve different content needs. People watching Netflix say they spend more time watching Netflix originals (37 per cent of their total viewing) on that service than anything else. Hulu viewers primarily use it to watch shows from traditional TV networks (54 per cent of their viewing).  And Amazon Prime viewers are most likely to be watching movies (39 per cent of their viewing).

5. Consumers have distinct preferences for the networks they prefer for different genres—and Netflix is strongly in the mix.

When asked which sources would make them most interested in trying a brand new show, Netflix was number one in drama (ahead of HBO). Netflix also ranked first for “original” shows generally, across genres.

“Given that we’re in the much-touted era of `peak TV’, it’s not surprising that TV shows are consumers’ first choice for entertainment,” said Peter Fondulas, co-author of the study and principal at Hub. “But there’s an equally important trend in our findings: Even with more high-quality TV shows to choose from than ever before, TV faces fierce competition among young consumers, who spend the vast majority of their entertainment time with non-TV options—like social media, online video, and gaming.”

“Today a lot of the attention goes to the competition for premium video viewers—between pay TV companies and Netflix, for instance”, said Jon Giegengack, co-author of the study.  “But this research reminds us that for young consumers, things like short-form video and gaming are re-defining what it means to ‘watch TV’.  Entertainment time is finite, and new habits formed today may dictate the size of the pie premium video providers compete for in the future.”


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