TV Everywhere users watch more TV overall

May 26, 2014 08.39 Europe/London By Robert Briel

TV EverywhereAccording to research published by Viacom TV Everywhere users show an increase in overall TV viewing, as well as greater customer loyalty towards pay TV providers that offer TV Everywhere services.

The broadcaster’s report TV Here, There, (Not Quite) Everywhere, explores consumers’ experiences around TV Everywhere (TVE) apps and sites.

For the purposes of this study, the TV Everywhere experience is defined as watching full-length TV programs on sites and apps by “authenticating,” or using pay TV log-in information. The methodology involved digital online journals, focus groups and ethnographies in New York and Chicago. Online surveys were conducted with more than 1,300 Viacom viewers ages 13-49 and more than 600 kids ages 2-12. Participants included both users of TV Everywhere and non-users.

“While still nascent in terms of awareness and usage, TV Everywhere presents a huge opportunity for brands to grow and strengthen their relationships with fans,” said Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP and chief research officer, Viacom Media Networks. “This research provides valuable insights into developing the best TVE experiences for our audiences who want to engage with their favorite content beyond the television screen.”

The majority of users agree: TV Everywhere is additive to the TV viewing experience. Since they began using TV Everywhere apps and sites, 64% report watching more TV overall. This finding is even stronger among Millennials, with 72% watching more TV.

For those using TV Everywhere, the television is still the go-to source for TV shows and watching live. After live TV, TVE apps and sites are a strong alternative, rivaling VOD, DVR and other sites that don’t require authentication with a pay TV provider, such as subscription streaming services or other free sites.

“Apps encourage watching live TV,” said Antonia, a 15-year-old TVE user. “I started watching this show on my computer and liked it, so now I watch it if it’s on TV.”

TV Everywhere also increases the value of pay TV subscriptions while strengthening loyalty to pay TV providers and relationships with networks. A full 98% of users say TVE adds value to their pay TV subscription, with 67% saying it adds “a lot” of value. The vast majority (93%) is more likely to stay with their provider due to TV Everywhere and 68% have a more favorable impression of networks that offer TVE experiences.

Users cite strong content libraries, flexibility and the attitudinal element of staying savvy as their main drivers for using TV Everywhere services.

Whether to re-watch or catch up on episodes, content is one of the biggest drivers of TV Everywhere usage. Viewers use TVE for replay, with 31% reporting that they re-watch episodes and 22% starting a show from the first season. Over two-thirds report using TVE more often than other third-party or free sites because it has more shows overall (42%), offers the shows/series they want to watch (38%), and features exclusives (23%).

Another major driver of TVE use, the flexibility of TVE allows viewers to watch shows when, where and how they want. Nearly one-third of users use TVE because they weren’t able to watch the show live.28% use TVE because they are away from home. 22% use TVE because all TVs were in use, and the same percentage cite being able to move around the house.

TVE users also consider themselves early adopters, with one-fifth reporting that they started using these services because they like to be the first to try new things. They are also much more likely to own and access TV shows on a range of different devices, including tablets, set-top-boxes and Smart TVs.

“It’s never been a better time to be a fan,” continued Rush. “And TV Everywhere apps and sites allow viewers to become even bigger fans, giving them the content they want and the flexibility to watch whenever and however they want.”

The research reveals that TV Everywhere – as both a concept and a term – still suffers from a lack of awareness and understanding. There’s also no go-to source of discovery yet: 17% of users heard about TVE from an ad on TV; 16% were made aware by a spouse or partner; and 54% of kids learned about it from their parents.

While 19% of users say they have no problems with their TVE experiences, the top issues tend to be tech-related, including loading/buffering (24%) and crashing/freezing (23%). Content-related issues are far less common.

For non-users, the biggest barriers to adoption are a lack of perceived need, concerns about hidden costs, lack of awareness and screen size.

The majority of users say flexibility, extensive content, smart search, and custom logins create the best TVE experiences.

Flexibility of a “Digital PVR”: Viewers want to be able to pause a show and pick it up at another time, even on another device. They want the abilities to start/stop (66%), watch on any device (64%), and use outside of their home Wi-Fi (60%).

Deep Content Libraries: Viewers want instant gratification and complete and deep content libraries, including immediate access to recent episodes (65%), old seasons of shows (62%), content that never expires (62%) and live TV (56%).

Smart Search: Intuitive search functionalities are crucial. Consumers want clear search boxes to search for specific shows (68%), organized content (59%) and the ability to make queues or lists of favorites for later viewing (55%).

Custom Logins: Particularly in multi-person households or for those with kids in the home, the ability to customize (52%) and have accounts for multiple users (48%) is important.