What Viewers Want: 7 Research Findings For Better Video Experiences
The last decade has seen a complete transformation in how viewers watch video content and their expectations of service providers in how that content is delivered. ‘Content Everywhere’ means that video must be available on every type of device, to be accessed in every location.
New research into changing consumer behaviors is starting to give us a clearer picture of what consumers are wanting from their video experience and how service providers can best improve delivery.
1) All ages are taking up second and third screens
Millennials spurred adoption of tablet and smartphone video consumption at the infancy of OTT. Now other generations are catching up, with marked increases in second and third screen uptake among ages 14-55+.
2) Engaging with more than one screen at a time
Handling multiple devices simultaneously is becoming a rule rather than an exception in many households. In two major markets, the US and the UK, studies have shown more than 85% of respondents are multi-tasking in this way.
Some broadcasters are already attempting to utilize this behaviour for engaging with the same content on multiple devices simultaneously e.g. ‘play along’ on smartphone and tablet with UK broadcaster Channel 4’s ‘Deal Or No Deal’ and ‘Million Pound Drop’ quiz formats.
3) Conventional TV is being displaced as the primary screen
There’s a fight at the top to displace the conventional TV screen as the primary screen for viewing content. Mobiles and tablets are far behind, likely owing to screen size and less likelihood of internet availability, but PCs and laptops are in contention with neither having a clear advantage – according to recent surveys by Gfk Research and Parks Associates.
What is clear is that there’s a trend moving away from the conventional TV as the primary screen. This trend is likely being led by younger demographics, with 14-17 year old conventional TV screen viewing down by 33% in one year.
4) SVOD uptake is highest among ‘cord cutters’
Who’s driving uptake of subscription services? In the U.S. studies are showing that existing cable and satellite customers, ditching their services in favour of SVOD, are the core adoption group. Compared to ‘cord nevers’ that have never paid for traditional TV, they are also more likely to have money to burn, earning on average $12k more annually.
5) Performance related concerns top online video gripes
Aside from advertising, unsurprisingly atop the list of consumer grievances but we’ll come back to that, viewers are primarily concerned about video performance. Approximately a third of respondents highlighted buffering and video/sound problems in their top 3 concerns while watching online video.
Where players employ ABR streaming algorithms, playback adjusts to the bandwidth available resulting in very little buffering or wait time and continuous playback. For regions with poor internet connectivity as a whole, offline playback is becoming a popular alternative to on-demand or live streaming.
6) Ads need to be more relevant and targeted
Content monetization is core to the business model of many OTT providers. For some services that means advertising breaks, increasing in popularity as ad spend rises and consumer resistance across streaming platforms ebbs away.
Recent Accenture and Nielsen surveys have shown a 68% majority don’t mind seeing ads in return for free content, but that they are concerned about both the number of interruptions during programmes and that for 66% of respondents the majority of VOD ads are for products they don’t want.
7) Expectation and demand for offline viewing
Offline playback is “never going to happen” said Netflix’s Head of Comms back in late 2014. The suggestion was offline was only useful as a short-term fix for lack of high speed WiFi. Two years on, following Amazon Prime Video, Netflix is offering offline downloads and heavily promoting the feature to take series on the go. The reason? As more people have become addicted to on-demand viewing, we want to watch content everywhere regardless of internet connectivity and without paying for a large amount of data.
Airplane mode. Road trip mode. Stuck-in-the-subway-for-20-minutes mode. Your favorite stories are now available for download any time. pic.twitter.com/g7QZA3TyE8— Netflix US (@netflix) November 30, 2016
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