The evolution of TV viewing

TRENDAFRiCA November 28, 2012

A global research study by Discovery Networks television revealed that new technologies and viewing habits compliment traditional television viewing and add to the experience. Content plays a key role, while the devices are the means of consumption.

In an interview with TREND., Kasia Kieli, president and managing director at Discovery Networks CEEMEA, said the channel’s ‘The Rise of the TV Everywhere Audience’ research report in conjunction with The Future Foundation, studied how television was adapting, evolving and growing to accommodate new viewing behaviours in this “increasingly connected, time-precious, fragmented world”.

“We’re seeing an increasing trend towards watching live TV online, using catch-up services, viewing on second screens and interaction with content and friends using social media. At the centre of the viewer experience stands great content with a clear opportunity to reach a larger audience with an increased frequency through continued innovation across both programming and distribution,” Kieli said.

“The research is telling us that we are living through television convergence for the first time. Television is not going to die for many years – we really are living the change. The reality is that people relate to brands and great content and people want to see great content, regardless of platform or delivery. That complements our linear and traditional TV screen offering in the living room and deeper engagement through other devices and social.”

The 5000-strong Discovery audience sample was drawn from viewers in 10 CEEMEA markets: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and UAE.

Traditional TV viewing is being supplemented and enriched with new audience behaviours

Key trends are:

 1.       Multi-Screen Living: The traditional TV set retains its prominent place in the home as it continues to innovate, now complemented by multi-screen living…

  • Live online TV viewing on any device is already commonplace across eight out of 10 markets – with the exception of South Africa where a low 31% claim to have watched live TV in the past six months.
  • TV on demand viewing (at 40%) is less common except for the young and early adopters who will lead the shift to non-scheduled TV. In South Africa, 43% aged 18-30 have watched catch-up TV online in the last six months against 18% of those aged 45+.
  • Looking specifically at smaller screens such as smartphones and tablets it is fair to say that TV viewing is in its early stages in CEEMEA, though penetration of these new technologies is rising fast – 46% own a smartphone and 21% a tablet. In South Africa 74% of the sample own smartphones compared to 31% that own a tablet PC and of these, only 15% have watched live TV in the last six months and 17% watched or downloaded TV on demand.
  • Many early adopters engage in media meshing – using a second medium alongside the first to improve their enjoyment of a TV show – over two-thirds (68%) in CEEMEA look up information on the internet about the programme they are watching.
  • New viewer typologies have emerged: the ‘Tourist’ who flits between a wider variety of programmes than they used to and the ‘Enthusiast’ who access extra content online.

2.       Time Maximising: There is a growing appetite to be able to watch TV content anywhere, anytime…

  • The vast majority in CEEMEA watch most of their TV as it is broadcast – but there is palpable demand for off-schedule programming, allowing viewers to watch what they want when they want, rather than adhering to a broadcast schedule (72% of the sample) – 61% in South Africa agree to this.
  • 51% would be interested in a service that could recommend what to watch based on preference and viewing history – and this increases to 67% in South Africa.
  • And a majority in each country would be interested in a device that ‘automatically recorded’ shows that might be of interest – South Africans are most interested in this with 79% agreeing.
  • There is an emerging market for bite-sized content, tailored for the second screen and designed to fit into busy lives, that sits alongside long-form – in eight out of 10 countries, a majority say they have watched clips of favourite shows on their mobile phones or would consider doing so.

 3.       Influence & Social TV: There is an opportunity for TV brands to do more with social media to engage viewers…

  • Despite the explosion in social media, expert sources of recommendation, such as reviews, still remain strong in viewing decisions. Friends and family, followed by trailers and online TV views came out on top.
  • Many often don’t know what to watch – a gap which a social scheduling or recommendation service, integrating opinions of friends, peers, reviews and experts into its recommendations, would be well-placed to fill.
  • Performative Media will provide viewers with the opportunity to engage with their friends and family in ‘real time’ about a show they are all virtually watching together and this has the obvious benefit to TV brands of driving engagement with their audiences and increasing viewership.



Source: Discovery Networks

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