A multi-screen future for on demand TV

TV screens and mobile devices to become the screens of choice for on demand viewing in Great Britain, reveals new Kantar Media insight

LONDON — The number of adults in Britain watching TV on demand via TV sets and mobile devices is growing, whilst on demand viewing via a desktop or laptop computer has peaked, according to newly released insight from Kantar Media’s futurePROOF study.

The futurePROOF study provides insight into consumers’ take-up and usage of digital devices and media. It found that, whilst the overall percentage of adults watching television on demand has remained consistent across the year at 47%, there has been a shift in the devices used for this on demand viewing.

The number of adults in Britain viewing content on demand through a TV set has increased by 16% over the course of 2012. The number of adults viewing via tablets has doubled over the same period while mobile viewing has increased by 39%.

The most common screen for on demand TV viewing is the television (33% of adults have watched on demand through a TV set in the last month) followed by laptop/desktop computers (20%) tablets (5%) and mobile phones (5%).

Viewing via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, is growing, in part because of increasing ownership of the devices but also because mobile viewing fulfils a different need. These screens, although smaller, give access to TV content where the TV set is not available.

Trevor Vagg, Director, Kantar Media Custom, comments:

“This demonstrates the range of screens viewers are now using to watch TV on demand, but the best experience, and most comfortable way to watch, is usually in front of a TV set.
Aggressive promotion of the availability of on demand services through TV sets has accompanied wider availability of 7-day catch up, thanks to developments like Sky’s re-launched On Demand service and Virgin TiVo.

On demand viewing via the TV looks set to grow further, as more services are set to launch. BBC iPlayer and 4oD are due to become available via Sky On Demand in 2013.”

Qualitative research conducted as part of futurePROOF highlighted that mobile TV viewing is a time-filling activity. Short content is therefore particularly popular, with 30-minute comedy or soap episodes and YouTube videos leading the way. Downloaded content also proves popular, allowing users to ‘playlist’ their favourite shows and avoid connection issues.

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