OTT, catch-up and binge balloon in connected TV home but broadcast keeps crown as king for TV audiences

DetailsEditor | 22 July 2015

Even with a growing disparity between expectation and reality, connectivity matters more than ever to viewers in connected TV homes where broadcast remains dominant, says research from ARRIS.

According to the broadcast technology and service company's latest Consumer Entertainment Index (CEI) looking into media consumption habits of 19,000 consumers across 19 markets including the UK and US, as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Spain there is a fundamental connection to the expanding ecosystem of video capable devices and the growing popularity of streaming services.

Even though the past year has seen a nominal increase in over-the-top (OTT) users (from 93% to 94%) and a similarly nominal decrease in broadcast TV users (from 97% to 96%). This highlights a disparity between industry expectation of these services and their actual rate of acceleration and suggests that broadcast TV remains king for now.

Worldwide, the average home now has six media devices connected to its Wi-Fi network, and the average household spends almost 6.5 hours each week streaming a subscription service. Four-fifths of those who stream now do so at least weekly, up from 72% just last year. There was a clear connection between Wi-Fi and mobile TV too, with nearly three-quarters (73%) of people who watch mobile TV at least once a week, using Wi-Fi to do so.

Yet ARRIS noted that such uptake was a likely causal effect of Internet issues that nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers said they experience, as well as their renewed interest in high speed Internet in every room of the house a service that 72% indicated was either very important or vitally important.

The CSI also highlighted new qualifications for the rise of both mobile TV and binge-viewing. Almost three-fifths of consumers were watching TV on-the-go with, said ARRIS, the potential for growth greatest in older demographics, where barriers of inconvenience and cost continue to challenge broader market adoption.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of downloading consumers said it was important to be able to download content to a device so they can watch it on-the-go without an Internet connection, rather than having to rely on cellular connections to stream. Also, the same number of those respondents who watch mobile TV use Wi-Fi to do so. This presents an opportunity for service providers to facilitate content downloads to mobile devices.

Binge-viewing has evolved into a very personal and solitary activity for a similar percentage of such consumers. The average binge-viewing consumer now watches for three hours in each sitting. Thus, said the CEI, service providers have an opportunity to personalise content and services for the individual and deliver a more tailored customer experience.

As to the commercial potential of such activity, ARRIS said that the good news for service providers is that these trends represent a number of opportunities to make it easier for consumers of all ages to download or stream content, to customise content and services to the individual consumer experience, and to solve connectivity issues by giving consumers a high-speed wireless connection where it is needed all over the home through better Wi-Fi equipment and training.

"The ARRIS CEI research offers our customers invaluable insight into the evolving consumer interaction with entertainment technology and content," commented ARRIS senior vice president of global marketing, Sandy Howe. " It underscores four major trends: 1.) consumer dependence on Wi-Fi and consequent frustration with its quality, 2.) the concurrent growth and hindrance of mobile TV adoption, 3.) the growing preference for downloading vs. streaming mobile content, and 4.) the increasingly personal nature of binge-viewing. All of these trends point to a tremendous opportunity for service providers and programmers to customise their offerings to these new consumer trends and to ensure the quality of the home's Wi-Fi network, which increasingly is bearing the weight of this evolution in services."