Advanced Television

Study: TV most popular content viewing device

April 23, 2024

RTL AdAlliance, the international ad sales house of RTL, has presented the results of the third edition of The New Life of the Living Room research. The study provides an in-depth view on Europeans’ attitude towards video content and for the first time compares the habits of video consumers in 11 European markets with those in the US. The findings reveal the growing diversity of video consumption and how viewers are feeling overwhelmed by today’s content.

While the TV is the favourite video device for Europeans — more than three quarters of all respondents (76 per cent) use it daily — TVs and smartphones are tied for first place among US viewers (both are used by 74 per cent daily). Smartphones rank second in popularity among European respondents (64 per cent), while PCs and notebooks are in third place both in the US (50 per cent) and Europe (41 per cent). Tablets also remain relevant albeit at a lower level than other devices (31 per cent use them daily in Europe and 46 per cent in the US).

According to the study, Smart TVs have changed the way viewers engage with video content in the living room. Digital video content now plays a significant role in smart TV viewer’s experiences. But despite the diversification of accessible content, linear TV is still popular among Americans and Europeans, as over two thirds of respondents (69 per cent in Europe, 68 per cent in the US) watch linear TV at least once a week. Among European viewers linear TV is the most widely watched video content channel on TV devices and more than half of the European respondents say linear TV is the first destination when switching on the TV.

US viewers are increasingly opting for streaming, with more smart TV viewers watching subscription-based video on demand (SVoD 77 per cent) and short-form online videos (72 per cent) weekly than in Europe (68 per cent and 55 per cent respectively). The largest difference between US and European respondents is with ad-funded video on demand (AVoD) and free ad-funded streaming TV (FAST). While almost two thirds (62 per cent) of US respondents watch ad-funded streaming content at least once a week, only a quarter of Europeans tune in.

Ads on ad-funded streaming services are viewed as part of the watching experience

One reason for the difference between may be the varying levels of tolerance towards ads. While only roughly a third of US respondents are annoyed by video ads on any platform (e. g., 32 per cent are annoyed by linear TV ads, 30 per cent are annoyed by AVoD advertising), those in Europe are less tolerant.

There is a bright spot for marketers, however: European viewers find ads on AVoD and SVoD platforms less annoying than ads on any other platform, while ads on short-form video are perceived as most irritating across both Europe (57 per cent) and the US (38 per cent).

Watching video at home is among viewers’ favourite activities and they want as many options as possible, from choosing the device and the platform to deciding if they watch ad-free content. But the sheer volume of content available creates a paradox of choice for many viewers. Of those in Europe, 60 per cent say they sometimes feel lost when presented with the amount of content available, while 64 per cent of US respondents also admi that they sometimes do not know what to choose.

“The paradox of choice is an emerging trend in video entertainment,” advises Aurélie Brunet de Courssou, Marketing director at RTL AdAlliance. “Users value the diversity and enjoy content across many different devices and platforms, but they crave simplicity to access their favourite shows and movies. Bundled offers, embraced by 44 per cent in the US and eyed by 38 per cent in Europe, signal this shift. Simplicity, trust, and proximity are the key media trends shaping content and ad choices. In a climate of AI and social media distrust, credibility and relevance in media are paramount.”

Categories: Advertising, Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, Markets, OTT, OTT, Premium, Research, VOD