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TV ‘not dead’ despite online surge

Traditional TV is not dead among over 18s despite the continuing rise of online video, according to a new study.

The Digital Strategy Study, from LA-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and digital media consulting company Vorhaus Advisors, analysed survey responses from more than 2,000 respondents over the age of 18 in the US.

It found that while online video is on the rise, television is still the top-rated device for the broader population over the age of 18.

Nevertheless, traditional TV continues to fall far behind digital devices for consumers between the ages of 18 and 34, with 72% of that group using a smartphone to watch online video once a week or more, compared with 56% percent who use a television set connected to the internet.

Meanwhile, SVoD uptake still has room to grow, with consumers saying they are likely to sign up to another 1.6 SVoD services, beyond what they already have. Of online users, 74% subscribe to a service, with nearly six in 10 using Netflix.

Furthermore, half of all SVoD viewing is consumed on an internet-connected TV, highlighting that related subscription apps are critical to connected TVs’ popularity, the study said.

It added that skinny bundles – select packages of channels for which customers pay less than they would if they took the ‘full fat’ option – could be a saving grace for pay TV companies. While cord-cutting is likely to continue at a steady pace, 35% of consumers are interested in subscribing to a skinny bundle as a streamlined alternative to cable packages.

With 47% of respondents saying cost is the primary reason for cord-cutting, traditional pay TV companies have found traction with this customised offering, the study noted.

The sample of more than 2,000 respondents was matched to the US census for age, gender and race. Questions focused on media attitudes and the behaviours of consumers on a broad range of topics.

The study also found that the future of eSports is “bright.” More than half of online users are watching live-streaming video every day on a wide variety of topics, with eSports quickly gaining market share as the sixth most popular type of live-streamed content.

“In addition to the surge in online video viewership more generally, the market for eSports is massive and an area that our team is deeply involved in as companies assess investment and M&A opportunities,” said Ned Sherman, digital and technology partner and director at Manatt.

Mike Vorhaus, CEO of Vorhaus Advisors, added: “SVoD and OTT continue to grow and traditional pay TV remains under pressure from cord-cutting. Our data suggests skinny bundle offerings are an effective strategy for winning back traditional pay TV consumers. Furthermore, traditional television consumption remains highly attractive, particularly among the population 35 years and older.”

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