TV SCREEN ALONE NO LONGER ENOUGH
With an array of online options for viewing media—not to mention the increasing amount of original content created for online audiences—TNS, a consultancy within WPP’s Kantar, says “video streaming services have become a disruptive influence on the traditional television business.” And while consumer’s preference is still television, a quarterly TNS study into consumers’ telecommunications behavior finds that TV sets alone are no longer enough to satisfy the appetite for content, driving the growth of online media and video streaming services.
The study of over 20,000 U.S. households found that more than one-third (34%) of households have streamed video within the previous month. Yet, the majority of these streaming households also purchase traditional Subscription Video service—cable, satellite or telco—and more than one in four (26%) watch both Pay TV and streaming, compared to just one in thirteen (8%) that only watch streaming video.
Even while the conventional model of “Pay TV Only” service still represents a majority scenario (55%), TNS says it is steadily becoming less commonplace. “The allure of streaming technology is furthering the fragmentation of the consumer video market, resulting in weaker brand affiliations, reduced customer loyalties, and higher defection risks across all video distributors,” notes TNS Vice President Frank Perazzini. Citing the emerging challenges from alternative channels, he says the sustainability of traditional Pay TV service could be vulnerable if new pricing models offer consumers access to the content they desire at lower rates than are available today.
Not that Pay TV providers are unaware of the new competition. To defend their still-dominant position, TNS finds that many are strengthening their offers in order to stay competitive through such enhancements as TV Everywhere and a variety of mobile apps, which seek to deliver customers a user-friendly interface for multi-platform and on-demand viewing.
Faster Internet speeds, more content, and more devices capable of streaming high-quality video have created a larger and still-growing audience for streaming video. One interesting finding in the TNS survey was that the prevalence of streaming behavior is both higher and growing faster among households that moved within the past year. Half (50%) of households which moved have used streaming in the past month, compared to less than a third (32%) of non-mover households. Furthermore, nearly one in six movers view only streaming video, compared to just one in fourteen non-movers. That could be a long-term threat to MVPDs, since nearly everyone moves eventually. “The considerably higher incidence of households that only view streaming video among Movers hints at streaming’s potential to supplant—rather than merely supplement—traditional cable, satellite, and fiber video consumption,” said Perazzini.