IHS: Console owners more likely to subscribe to OTT

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There were 49 million games consoles shipped worldwide in 2017, with North America receiving the largest share (18.4 million units). At the end of 2017, the global number of connected consoles reached 164 million, of which 83 per cent were seventh- or eighth-generation gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

Finding from the IHS Markit Connected Devices and Media Consumption service reveals that 35.6 per cent of households owned a games console. The survey examined device ownership, use and access of subscription and free video services and decision drivers.

Among games console owners, 89.6 per cent said that their household had access to at least one OTT video subscription service, compared with 51 per cent of all consumers surveyed.

Among households with games consoles, 88.6 per cent had one or more pay-TV services, compared to 57 per cent of all survey respondents.

Analysis

While gaming remains the core function, Microsoft and Sony have leveraged their existing online stores to provide digital rental and retail options in their seventh- and eighth-generation consoles. Opening their platforms to third-party applications has also allowed major and niche online video services to access television-centered devices, which make viewing on the main screen convenient and enable media content streaming functionality similar to what’s offered by dedicated media streaming devices, like Apple TV and Amazon FireStick.

The high penetration of subscription video services among game console owners reported in the IHS Markit survey, particularly pay TV services, is hardly surprising. Games consoles remain premium devices with prices ranging between $200 and $400, meaning these households have already shown a propensity toward media spending.

Console ownership and video service subscription also varies by country, as follows:

  • In the US, the largest market in terms of games console sales and connected consoles, more than one-third (38.2 per cent) of respondents indicated they had access to one or more games consoles. Nearly all (97.8 per cent) of console-owning households subscribed to at least one pay-TV or subscription video service.
  • The majority of Brazil’s console-owning population subscribes to multiple video services, including traditional pay TV and online video subscription services. Eight out of ten console owners in Brazil had a household subscription to Netflix, which is 13 per cent higher than the national average. Five per cent of console owners who subscribed to Netflix said that their console was their preferred way to access the service.
  • In Germany, there were 7.6 million connected games consoles at the end of 2017. The PlayStation 4 was the most common device, with five million connected consoles. Nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of PlayStation 4 households in Germany also owned a PlayStation 3, and 14 per cent owned an Xbox One.
  • Just 22 per cent of Japanese console owners subscribed to online video service Netflix, while a comparably low 14 per cent subscribed to Free Retransmission Cable, the largest pay TV operator in terms of subscribers. Nearly one-third (31 per cent) of PlayStation 4 owners in Japan indicated that access to content – either for themselves or other household members – was their primary driver when purchasing the device.
  • Two out of five UK survey respondents indicated that their household owned one or more games consoles. As was uniformly the case across the all markets surveyed, the PlayStation 4 was the most popular console. Netflix is the largest online video operator in the UK with 31 per cent of respondents saying they had access to Netflix, rising to 48 per cent when looking specifically at console owners.

 


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