Number of people watching TV shows on TV sets drops 55% in one year: Accenture survey

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The percentage of consumers who prefer watching TV shows on television sets plummeted by 55% over the past year, from 52% to 23%, according to findings from Accenture’s 2017 Digital Consumer Survey, signaling an accelerating shift in digital video market consumer behavior.

The global online survey of 26,000 consumers in 26 countries reports that consumers increasingly prefer to watch TV shows on devices such as laptops, desktops and smartphones. More than four in 10 consumers (42%) said they would rather view TV shows on a laptop or desktop, up from 32% in last year’s survey. Thirteen percent said they prefer watching TV shows on their smartphones, compared with 10% last year.

The decline in TV viewing over the past year tracks with a four-year trend. As recently as 2014, the survey revealed that nearly two-thirds (65%) of consumers preferred the TV set for viewing TV shows.

The most-recent findings, summarized in a new Accenture report titled Winning Experiences in the New Video World, show that only one in five consumers (19%) now prefer to watch sports games on their TVs, down from 38% in the prior-year survey.

“The dominance of the TV set as the undisputed go-to entertainment device is ending,” said Gavin Mann, global managing director for Accenture’s broadcast business. “While a great number of people still watch plenty of TV shows on TV sets, our research uncovers a rapid acceleration in their preference for viewing on other digital devices – especially laptops, desktops and smartphones.”

The report reveals a particularly steep decline over the past year in the percentage of India’s consumers who prefer to view TV shows on TV sets. That percentage dropped 78%, from 47% to 10%. In the United States, the number fell 57% (from 59% to 25%), and the UK it dropped 55% (from 56% to 25%).

“Driving this rapid shift in consumer preferences is the growing convenience, availability and quality of more personalized and compelling content on laptop and desktop personal computers and smartphones,” Mann added. “The massive and accelerating push by communications and media companies to provide ubiquitous content – TV everywhere including over-the-top – has empowered consumers to access high-quality content across multiple devices.”

While consumers increasingly prefer to watch TV shows on laptops and desktops, the smartphone is becoming the preferred device for watching short video clips. In the most-recent survey, more than one-third (41%) of consumers said they would rather view these clips on their mobile handsets, a substantial increase from 28% last year. In contrast, the number of consumers who said they would rather watch video clips on their laptops and desktops dropped slightly, from 47% to 44% over the last year, while the number who said they prefer to view these clips on their TV sets dropped even more, from 16% to only 5%.

Accenture offers several recommendations for how media companies should respond to the shift in consumers’ video consumption habits from TV sets to other devices.

For a start, they’ll need to identify new ways to engage consumers with more personalized video content across more types of screens. They should also use more granular consumer data, segments and predictive analytics to help anticipate consumer preferences and find content they desire, as well as focus more on their target audiences to identify exactly what content their viewers want to receive – and when, for how long and on what type of screen.

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