Older viewers turn on to SVOD
Joseph O'Halloran
| 14 March 2018

Received wisdom has to date suggested that video-on-demand is no country for old men (or women) but research from Ampere Analysis has revealed that people aged 55 to 64 are increasingly getting hooked on subscription VOD services.

In its survey, 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.

The top line results found, not surprisingly, that while 18 to 24-year olds watch nearly 40 minutes daily, people aged 55 to 64 consume very little SVOD, less than eight minutes per day. and that at present, just 13% of SVOD subscribers are 55 or older; the vast majority, 44%, are under 35 years old. Yet when looking at only those who subscribe to an SVOD service, rather than all those connected to the internet, Ampere found that there was almost no difference in viewing time between the age groups. Indeed, the survey showed that 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. Furthermore, the penetration of Netflix subscriptions amongst 55-64-year old internet users was also seen to be growing rapidly. In mid-2015 in the UK it was 9%; today the figure has risen almost three-fold to 25%.

The survey showed that viewers aged 55-64 watch a wide variety of content on SVOD with a greater skew towards action and adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, crime and thriller and documentaries on SVOD than average, and with less appetite for comedy. When it came to the top two most popular genres, 55 to 64-year olds behave much more like younger consumers. Compared with their younger counterparts, factual was proportionally more important and comedy slightly less so. In detail, 14% of 55 to 64-year olds want to watch action and adventure on SVOD; 14% want to watch sci-fi/fantasy; 13%, crime and thriller; 8%, comedy; 7%, documentaries.

Looking geographically, Ampere found little variation across countries in the time people in spend watching SVOD apart from France. In the US, 45 to 64-year olds watch 1 hour 33 minutes of SVOD per day, and in the UK, itís 1 hour 16 minutes. In France however, itís just 50 minutes per day.

Commenting on the research, Ampere Analysis director Richard Broughton said: ďItís long been held that an ageing population offers a ready audience for broadcast TV, but our analysis shows that itís 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.

ďOnce 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.Ē