The latest edition of the annual Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report has found that streaming video is now almost level with traditional TV watching, with 75 percent of consumers watching streamed content several times a week, compared to 77 percent who watch scheduled broadcast TV programming several times a week. The study also found that almost one in five viewers (19 percent) are prepared to pay for the ability to access their favored content on any device, an increase of 25 percent in just two years.
The results, based on interviews with over 23,000 people in 23 different countries, show that a shift in user behavior continues to drive change in the TV and media industries, prompting a move away from old formats and business models and ushering in an era of high-quality, on-demand entertainment.
The study shows a rise in the amount of time spent watching content on smart phones and tablet devices. It also reveals that traditional broadcast and Pay TV channels are seen by many as 'content repositories' from which consumers cherry-pick individual pieces of content for later viewing, using their digital video recorder (DVR). DVR functionality is also helping to continue the trend of "binge viewing", which began with the advent of boxed sets of TV series and movie sequels, and is in stark contrast to the traditional TV experience of waiting a week for each new episode of a favored show.
Alongside this, many viewers have moved to subscription-based video on demand (S-VOD) services such as Netflix and Hulu, and 48 percent state that they would like to see all episodes of a series such as "Breaking Bad" and "House of Cards" released together, so they can choose when to watch them.
While 41 percent of consumers expressed a desire to be able to watch their favorite shows anywhere, there were two major barriers to this: the cost of data traffic and the cost of the content itself. The research also found that many were not prepared to compromise on quality, with 43 percent saying that Ultra High Definition (UHD) was important to them.