Consumers are increasingly taking control of their entertainment experience, multitasking while watching television, integrating second screen devices into their viewing experience, and viewing more Internet-based content, according to a new survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
The third annual multi-nation ”Video Over Internet Consumer Survey,” found that viewers are multitasking with their laptops, phones, tablets and even books and newspapers, in growing numbers while watching TV. Overall, 90 percent of respondents indicated they watch some video content over the Internet.
“Consumers can’t just watch TV anymore,” said Francesco Venturini, broadcast lead for Accenture’s Media & Entertainment industry group. “The rise in multitasking while watching TV suggests that scheduled programming, also known as Linear TV, may be losing its appeal for sophisticated users, presenting both challenges and opportunities for broadcasters and content providers.”
Television Viewers Multitasking in Greater Numbers
The survey revealed that multitasking has grown substantially in the past year across all devices. In fact, more than three-quarters (77 percent) of all respondents reported regularly using their computer/laptop while watching TV, up 16 percentage points from last year. While numbers rose across the board on all devices, the use of tablets rose the most significantly – to 44 percent from 11 percent -- despite their lower ownership rates compared to PCs, TVs and phones. The frequency with which consumers watch video content on tablets also has increased significantly.
Although multitasking activities are mostly unrelated to the content on TV, the survey indicates that the use of tablets correlates more closely with what consumers are watching than the use of laptops and smartphones.
The survey also indicates that the tablet is showing early signs of becoming a complementary companion device for multi-tasking consumers with 14 percent using tablets for searching content and social media activities related to the TV program they are watching. Only 17 percent of those surveyed use a tablet for activities unrelated to the content being viewed on TV.
“As the tablet becomes a key companion to today’s viewers, monetizing this second screen experience must be explored,” said Venturini. “This is an example of over-the-top applications and convergence presenting the industry with new challenges.
Sophisticated Consumer Habits
The growing sophistication of consumers is also reflected in the high percentage of respondents who watch video content over the Internet (more than 90 percent); the greater frequency with which they view movies, TV programs and Video on Demand over the Internet on a device; and the correlation between the type of content they are watching and the device they use to watch it.
The number of respondents who watch video content over the Internet at least once a week on a PC/laptop rose to 65 percent in 2013 from 59 percent last year, according to the survey. During that same period, the number of respondents watching video content on a mobile phone or smartphone rose to 31 percent from 24 percent and the number watching video content on a tablet increased to 22 percent from 14 percent.
Consumers have evolved in their use of different devices to match the content they are viewing. The data shows that more people are watching full-length movies and TV series on their PCs/laptops this year than last (47 percent compared to 41 percent); tablet viewing also grew to 33 percent from 27 percent. And, more consumers are viewing short video clips on their smartphones (49 percent compared to 44 percent in 2012), according to the survey.
Overall, the survey found greater consumer sophistication in the way in which they use their devices to match video content to their PCs, phones, tablets and TVs. In response, and in alignment with key digital trends identified in the Accenture Technology Vision, broadcasters and content providers should look to create “digital relationships” with consumers to improve interactions, develop better insights into individual consumer preferences, and deliver a more customized consumer experience.
Evidence of Confusion
TVs connected directly to the Internet remain the ideal method for accessing online video on a TV. However, consumers’ preference for using connected TV for online videos has slipped from 36 percent in 2012 to 31 percent this year. And, the percentage of consumers who are not sure or don’t have a preferred method for accessing online video on TV has risen from 23 to 28 percent.
The data suggests that consumers remain confused about the available options for accessing online video. While only 16 percent indicated a preference for an online connection through a set-top box, nearly a third (30 percent) reported watching daily online content this way.
“We would have expected consumers to have a better understanding of their options by now considering the sizeable marketing push by the television electronics industry to promote connected TVs,” said Venturini. “A big gap still remains between the availability of video services, content discovery programs and consumers’ ability to access these capabilities.”
Broadcasters Striking Back
The survey indicates that local and national providers are making progress in their battle with global content providers, such as Netflix and YouTube, to deliver video services over the Internet. The number of consumers using local online video service providers and broadcasters rose from 37 percent in 2012 to 40 percent in 2013, while global providers dropped by a similar amount.
Moreover, the survey reveals growing trust for broadcasters among consumers. Asked who they would most trust to offer a video over the Internet service on their TV screen, more than half (53 percent) of consumers surveyed said they would trust their traditional TV broadcaster – up from 32 percent in 2012.
“Broadcasters have been investing heavily over the past 12 months to earn consumer trust in the online world and provide new services across multiple devices. They have accelerated the delivery of their own content online and fundamentally altered their strategies to fit the rapidly changing marketplace, and in some cases introduced sophisticated hybrid TV offerings. Consumer trust for broadcasters is an indication that these investments are starting to pay off,” noted Venturini.
Accenture conducted an online survey in February and March, 2013, with 3501 consumers in six countries: Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. The sample is representative of the national population in each country except Brazil where the sample is more representative of the urban populations.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 261,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
About Accenture Digital Services
Accenture Digital Services, an Accenture Business Service, is designed to deliver value from digital content in a complex environment. It engages digital consumers with unique, personalized interactive experiences on a massive scale. It supports a mix of business models to drive new revenue streams and find new ways to monetize content. It distributes digital content in any format, across all platforms, to any device. And it optimizes operating models, delivering next-generation solutions on a pay-as-you-grow basis – all to help clients thrive in a changing digital ecosystem. Its home page is www.accenture.com/digital-services.