TV RE[DEFINED]: How Global Viewers Are Redefining Their Relationship With Television

Daina Amorosano by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) today announced the launch of its new international study TV RE[DEFINED]. The study, unveiled this morning at Cable Congress by Christian Kurz, VP Research, Insights and Reporting, VIMN, explores how viewers are redefining their relationship with television.   The study also explores how people watch television in this transforming viewing environment, how they discover content and how their habits around television are evolving.

TV RE[DEFINED] confirms that in an ever-more digitally connected world, television and great stories (content) still connect people to each other now more than ever – 63% agree that television has never been this good.

“In a short span of time, content has become available anytime and anywhere, opening up endless opportunities for viewing.  Both rapidly and radically, we have seen TV redefined.  In the midst of all this change, TV RE[DEFINED] shows that– more television is being consumed now than ever before.  What is needed is a redefinition of our understanding of television,” said Kurz.

For this study, VIMN conducted in-depth video ethnographies with consumers, spoke to over 10,500 respondents aged 6-34 and looked at 26,866 of their viewing occasions across 14 countries – Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, Germany, UK, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and Sweden.

Following is a snapshot of additional key findings from the study:

More access to great content is redefining how viewers engage with television.

The ability to access content in multiple ways leads to higher engagement with television only if that content is compelling to viewers.

  • A library of great content fosters connection with viewers.
  • Devices are just vehicles for delivering content.

Television has become THE go-to conversation topic.

72% are talking about TV shows they love more often than a few years ago.

It has never been more important to create content that’s conversation-worthy.

  • Conversations play a key role in the discovery of content for adults (it’s the second most important means of initial content discovery and of confirming interest in a TV show). In-person conversations matter more than social media.
  • Playground conversations rule for kids! Among kids, conversations are even more important: the number one means of discovering content.

Linear TV’s role in content discovery is still dominant.

Channel-surfing is still the primary discovery method used by viewers today, followed by word-of-mouth and TV Promos.

Online is very useful as a means of reinforcing interest, but it is linear TV that “seals the deal” and commits them as viewers.

  • 69% of adults and 76% of kids start their viewing journey via linear TV
  • Linear TV is the only source, currently, that satisfies both passive and active viewing needs. No other source has yet found a way to tick every box and duplicate the discovery and viewing experience offered by old-school TV.

There is no dominant non-linear content source–VOD and subscription services are equally redefining TV. What matters most is the availability of quality content and then user experience.

  • Used in the past week among those who have access: VOD 56%, channel sites 53%, DVR 51%, SVOD 47%.
  • The television provider’s VOD services can be very competitive if they continue to provide viewers with access to great content in easy and innovative ways.

Viewers are consuming television in new ways – consumers have redefined TV to mean ‘content on their own terms’.

  • 51% prefer to be able to watch TV “When” they want to rather than “Where” or “How”.

Viewers are using different sources to fulfill different needs:

  • Linear TV is the “go-to” source 71% go to television first and it remains the reference to discover and watch TV programs
  • DVR, channel site or app and a TV provider’s VOD service offer an opportunity for “catch-up”
  • Subscription VOD is ideal for “marathoning“
  • Free video sites are “worth a look”. Viewers may trial TV shows on free video sites, however if they like the show they will move to other sources that offer a better user experience

TV RE[DEFINED] has uncovered a new and vital viewing segment: The Engaged Viewer.

Representing 45% of global viewers, they have access to at least 2 secondary sources to watch television and, as their name suggests, are highly engaged with content. They have greater access to what they perceive as great content. This has increased their engagement with TV and they are now watching more TV content in general. In fact, they are even watching more linear TV than they were a year ago.

  • For the Engaged Viewer, TV RE[DEFINED] means conversation-worthy content is even more important. Nearly 40% of their viewing results in some form of connecting with other people. They place particular emphasis on in-person experiences.
  • Shows with compelling stories that inspire conversation will succeed. Without shows that generate conversation, naysayers’ predictions of the death of TV could come true.

“TV EVERYWHERE” should be called “TV RIGHT NOW”

  • The majority of viewers (51%) prefer to be able to watch TV “When” they want to rather than “Where” or “How”. In other words, Convenience is watching a show whenever they decide they want to watch it.
  • This highlights the importance of user-friendly platforms to make it simple to watch their shows when the moment comes.

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