Majority of TV Viewing now 'On-Demand' for 1 in 4 Brits

Monday, April 30th, 2012
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Rises to 1 in 3 Smart TV owners and 41% of 18-24 year olds

LONDON — A YouGov survey of the nation’s TV habits reveals that one in four (26%) Britons now claim to spend more time watching TV through “on-demand” services, such as BBC’s iPlayer, than they do watching traditional “linear” TV.

This type of behaviour is even more pronounced amongst people aged 18 – 24 years; 41% of whom say the majority of the TV they watch is now “on-demand.” The likelihood of doing this, however, decreases with age down to 14% of people aged 55 or older.

Amongst people who own Smart TVs (ones that connect directly to the internet without requiring any other device) just over one in three (35%) say the majority of their TV viewing is “on-demand.” This is also the case for over half (53%) of 18-24 year olds with a Smart TV and half (51%) of Smart TV owners with pre-school children.

Dan Brilot, YouGov’s Media Consulting Director, “These figures show that we are perhaps entering into a paradigm shift in the way that we consume Television – “TV 2.0.” Whilst we know (from industry sources such as BARB) that linear TV is still growing, alongside this we are observing a huge growth in on-demand consumption. TV 2.0 is all about consumers, rather than schedulers, deciding what to watch and when. Whilst linear TV is still at the core of most things that most people watch, the next generation who are growing up with the internet’s new mode of serving and searching content will increasingly focus their viewing attention to on-demand services.”

With 14% of UK households set to own one in the next year, Smart TV’s are having a big impact on both programme and advertising viewing. Although four in ten (39%) people say they are watching more “on-demand” TV than they were a year ago, this increases dramatically to over one half (53%) of Smart TV owners. This positive impact is also extending to TV advertising; only 14% of people say they pay attention to ads on TV but this doubles to 29% amongst 18-24 year old Smart TV owners.

Brilot comments, “TV 2.0 isn’t just about better programming choices but also more effective and targeted advertising too. The appeal of clickable ads, for example, is clear – almost a fifth of consumers want to be able to click on TV ads to find out more about the products they are interested in. This desire for a ‘call to action’ relevant to them is ideal for advertisers, particularly if the call to action is making an instant purchase using their TV set and offers a measurable clickable return on advertising investment.”

This power of Smart TV has further potential for tapping as Smart TVs are not primarily being bought because of their ‘smart’ capability – that is directly connecting to the Internet without the need of another device. For example, only half (53%) of Smart TV owners correctly selected this as a definition of a Smart TV and one in four (25%) have never used their Smart TV to connect to the internet. Furthermore, only one third (37%) of people planning to buy a Smart TV said that connecting to the internet was a reason for considering a purchase – the most common factor was simply having a more up-to-date TV (cited by 50% of people planning to buy one).

However, nearly half (47%) of all Smart TV owners are using their Smart TV to access the internet at least once a week. Households with pre-school children tend to be the groups doing this most frequently.

Brilot comments, “The ‘smart’ part of a Smart TV is not the main reason many people are buying them at the moment; it’s more about future-proofing their TV set in the same way that lots of people did when they bought HD TV’s. However, there is a strong hard-core of early Smart TV adopters who clearly ‘get it’ and are driving the impact that Smart TV will increasingly have on future programme and advert consumption.”

Sony looks like it could be overtaken by Samsung as the manufacturer of choice for Smart TV owners. Amongst Smart TV owners, over one third (36%) have a Sony, followed by Samsung (33%) then Panasonic (16%). However, almost two-thirds (62%) of people planning to purchase one in the next 12 months are considering Samsung followed by Sony (48%) and Panasonic (40%).

Brilot concludes, “Sony is seen as the quality or premium brand favoured by many early tech adopters – late twenty- or thirty-something men – but Samsung is the brand working the hardest and most successfully to bring Smart TV to the masses through its advertising campaigns as well as leading the way in the availability of apps on the sets.”