Youth revolution: half US and UK viewers consume TV via broadband

28 Nov 2012

Some 50pc of US consumers and 48pc of UK consumers are watching over-the-top (OTT) video through a broadband connection on their TVs in addition to traditional cable or satellite services. This is very much a youth-led revolution and will define the TV norms over the coming decades.

According to the latest Accenture Pulse of Media survey, there is a major shift in how consumers are getting content, with many using mobile devices to add a second screen to their experiences and creating video playlists, posting more videos in social media and researching new content via social media.

“We are seeing a seismic shift in consumer viewing habits,” said Robin Murdoch, a managing director in Accenture’s Media & Entertainment industry group.

“The connected consumer is now comfortable viewing TV shows and video on a variety of screens, as well as sharing opinions of that content via social channels or recommendation engines.”

Not surprisingly, the survey found younger viewers are leading the way in using these new technologies to view video content. 

In the US, 82pc of consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 watch some OTT video, with 60pc watching at least a quarter of their video over-the-top (compared to 32pc of US consumers overall). 

In the UK, 75pc of consumers in that age group watch some OTT, with 54pc watching at least 25pc (compared with 28pc of overall consumers) in this manner.

Younger consumers are also more likely to discover new content through social networks as opposed to learning about it through commercials or programming guides. 

The survey showed that 35pc of 18- to 24-year-olds are interested in social newsfeeds of videos that friends have watched compared with 11pc of consumers age 45 and older.

The new viewing habits of the Netflix generation

In the US, 27pc of those surveyed subscribe to OTT services, such as Netflix Instant Streaming, compared with 28pc to satellite. 

In the UK, 26pc of those surveyed subscribe to or access OTT services like Netflix, LoveFilm, or BBC’s iPlayer on TV services, or Sky Go/Now TV from Sky, compared with 30pc to satellite.

Sixteen per cent of US consumers (9pc in the UK) subscribe to gaming console-based video delivery services, and 4pc (3pc in the UK) subscribe to set-top subscription services, such as Apple TV, Boxee or Google TV.

Consumers are also diversifying their viewing habits. Television remains the primary device for watching full-length shows, and PCs and laptops are the dominant device for short video clips.

However, consumers are also using mobile devices, such as smartphones, to:

·      watch short videos and clips (24pc);

·      watch user-generated content (15pc);

·      watch live content (6pc);

·      watch full-length movies and TV (4pc)

TV is a social experience

Many consumers share videos on social networks, the survey shows.  Based on a weighted average, respondents who use social media had, on average, more than three friends who posted videos at least once per day (3.6 in the U.S and 2.8 in the UK).

Thirty-eight per cent of respondents had posted, or re-posted, video online via social media.

Most often this involved consumers sharing videos posted by friends (51pc overall), reinforcing the viral nature of video sharing online. A smaller but significant proportion (25pc), sought out videos to post on social media based on content they had seen on TV.

The survey also probed consumers’ willingness to pay for content and found 36pc would be willing to pay to see a favourite show continue. 

Of that group, 18pc indicated they would pay US$25/stg£10 or more, and half (50pc) would pay US$1-US$4/stg£1-stg£4. Younger consumers were more willing to contribute to the cause with 72pc of 18-24 year-olds in the US and 54pc of the respondents in the UK

“The new media landscape has enabled curating, consuming, and commenting on TV and video content to become a simple, seamless experience,” said Murdoch. 

“With youth leading the movement, we anticipate that these trends will intensify in the coming years.”

TV via broadband image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years