Research: Over 55s increasingly watching SVoD

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It has taken a while to grab hold, but according to latest research from Ampere Analysis, people aged 55 to 64 are increasingly getting hooked on SVoD services such as Netflix and Amazon.

Ampere Analysis polled 33,000 people with an internet connection across 16 markets to understand how many hours per day a typical person spends watching SVoD. An initial look at the figures suggests that people aged 55 to 64 consume very little SVoD – less than eight minutes per day. By comparison, 18 to 24-year olds watch nearly 40 minutes daily.

However, when we analyse only those who subscribe to an SVoD service, rather than all those connected to the Internet, there is almost no difference in viewing time between the age groups. The average 55 to 64-year old SVoD user watches over 1 hour 20 minutes of SVoD per day, almost exactly that of an 18 to 24-year old subscriber.

At present, just 13 per cent of SVoD subscribers are 55 or older; the vast majority, 44 per cent, are under 35 years old. But this is beginning to change. The penetration of Netflix subscriptions amongst 55-64-year old internet users is growing rapidly. In the UK, for instance, in mid-2015, it was 9 per cent. Today, the figure has risen almost three-fold to 25 per cent.

Unusually for an analysis of so many markets, there’s remarkably little variation across countries in the time people in spend watching SVoD. The exception is France, which currently has a weak SVoD market. In the US, 45 to 64-year olds watch 1 hour 33 minutes of SVoD per day, and in the UK, it’s 1 hour 16 minutes.  In France however, it’s just 50 minutes per day.

Viewers aged 55-64 watch a wide variety of content on SVoD. There is a greater skew towards Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Crime & Thriller, and Documentaries on SVoD than average, and less appetite for Comedy. In fact, when it comes to the top two most popular genres, 55 to 64-year olds behave much more like younger consumers. Compared to their younger counterparts, factual is proportionally more important and comedy slightly less so – which is what Ampere would normally expect for the age bracket.

  • 14 per cent of 55 to 64-year olds want to watch Action & Adventure on SVoD
  • 14 per cent of 55 to 64-year olds want to watch Sci-Fi/Fantasy on SVoD
  • 13 per cent of  55 to 64-year olds want to watch Crime & Thriller on SVoD
  • 8 per cent of 55 to 64-year olds want to watch Comedy on SVoD
  • 7 per cent of 55 to 64-year olds want to watch Documentaries on SVoD.

Richard Broughton, Director at Ampere Analysis says: “It’s long been held that an ageing population offers a ready audience for broadcast TV, but our analysis shows that it’s time for a reality check. Subscription Video on Demand services like Netflix and Amazon are not exclusively for the younger viewer, they are just taking longer to convince 55 to 64-year olds of the value of a paid-for TV content subscription. Once older viewers subscribe to an on-demand service, either through advertising, or following recommendations from friends and family, they shift their viewing patterns and start consuming content in a similar way to their younger counterparts. As they hit saturation point with the youngest viewers in the markets like the US and UK, the marketing teams of the SVoD services will increasingly want to turn their attention to older viewers. We expect this to herald yet more changes to content consumption for both broadcast and on-demand services.”


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