Today we live and work in a new era, where technology is increasingly designed without limits. To the “everywhere generation”, technology is available around the clock everywhere they go. With this new access, they are watching more content, in more diverse ways than ever before. And with TV everywhere, consumers can watch television shows on their computer and mobile devices, even when they’re not at home.
According to a study of 18-34 year olds by Google and Ipsos, in a typical day, 98% of the respondents reported using smartphones to watch video content. The study also found that 34% of mobile video minutes were watched while people were out and about.
But, let’s not forget that for many in the everywhere generation, it is their parents who are paying the bills. This means distributors and content creators have to provide a solution that suits the needs of all the family.
For the past few years, TV networks have released more and more services that offer an alternative to full-service cable subscriptions. From “skinny” bundles to OTT offerings, providers recognize that today’s technology is changing the way people consume content.
However, amid all this change, TV has remained resilient. According to recent data from Nielsen, traditional television is still the preferred platform globally with 72% of the respondents claiming they pay to watch via a traditional TV connection. So it seems we have a case of “Schrodinger’s viewer”: both at home in front of the TV and simultaneously out and about on their smart phone. The reality is that we haven’t stopped watching television, we just absorb content in different ways.
However, these figures may also mask a generational shift. For example, according to a report by Global Web Index, consumption of linear television amongst millennials has been on a downward trend since 2012. A global report by Nielsen on VOD viewing found that 48% of millennials and 48% of Generation Z reported that they watched VOD programming on an online device daily. But just because they’re using different screens doesn’t mean millennials have abandoned TV. From sharing content on social networks to watching YouTube through the TV set, television is another technology that is adapting to the “no limits” approach.
With fewer limits on the way they watch television, consumers are taking control and tailoring their own, more fragmented approach to consuming content. And that means TV providers can’t sit back and wait.
There is undoubtedly a platform threat to traditional TV from subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix. Industry reports predict that SVOD homes in Asia-Pacific will quadruple by 2020 from 17.2 million in 2014 to 68.8 million in 2020. SVOD revenues are also predicted to rocket from $1.8 billion in 2015 to $6.4 billion in 2021. But although we may see a little less TV and a lot less linear watching, there is a large market for smart packages that combine both skinny bundles with SVOD offerings.
There are still challenges for providers to solve. As TV has become more diverse, it has also become more complex, with content spread over multiple devices and coffee tables full of remotes. This fragmented state of supposedly more advanced TV is not delivering the ideal television experience. The next generation of successful pay-TV solutions will be those which provide a single coherent experience with a single management environment across a single network.
When we look to the future of the pay-TV market, providers need to avoid the risks of over-fragmentation and look to success stories like Netflix and Spotify as reminders that consumers still want to pay for content. And those with doubts about the future of television should always bear in mind that 80% of internet traffic is video – so TV has arguably transformed the internet more than the other way round.
TV just has to be packaged to fit into modern lifestyles. So the questions every pay-TV provider should be asking themselves are: How do I connect people to the content they love? And how do I do that in a frictionless way?
By Jean-Luc Jezouin, SVP and Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, Nagra