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Anarchy in the UK as consumers flock to OTT video

Consumers in the UK and US are changing the way they view TV and video content by increasingly taking control of how, when, and where they view it, according to new findings from Accenture.

The management consultancy’s new Pulse of Media Consumer Survey indicates that roughly half (48%) of UK consumers subscribe to a range of video delivery services, indicating over-the-top video consumption has grown at an “astonishing” rate since last measured by Accenture in March 2011 at 8 percent.

Consumers are also viewing content on mobile devices, creating video playlists, posting videos on social media, and learning about new TV programmes and video offerings through social networks, according to Accenture.

“We are seeing a seismic shift in consumer viewing habits,” said Robin Murdoch, a managing director in Accenture’s Media & Entertainment industry group. “The connected consumer is now comfortable viewing TV shows and video on a variety of screens, as well as sharing opinions of that content via social channels or recommendation engines.”

Not surprisingly, the survey found younger viewers are leading the way in using these new technologies to view video content: in the US, 82% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 watch some OTT video, with 60% watching at least a quarter of their video over-the-top (compared to 32 percent of US consumers overall).

In the UK, 75 percent of consumers in that age group watch some OTT, with 54 percent watching at least 25 percent of their video over-the-top (compared with 28 percent of overall consumers).

Younger consumers are also more likely to discover new content through social networks as opposed to learning about it through commercials or programming guides: the survey showed that 35 percent of 18-24 year-olds are interested in social news feeds of videos that friends have watched, compared with 11 percent of consumers age 45 and older.

The survey also probed the willingness of consumers in the UK and US to pay for content, and found that more than one-third (36 percent) would be willing to pay to see a favourite show continue.

Of that group, 18 percent indicated they would pay US$25 / GB£10 or more, and half (50 percent) would pay US$1-4 / GB£1-4. Younger consumers were more willing to contribute to the cause with nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of 18-24 year-olds in the US and more than half (54 percent) of the respondents in the UK.

“The new media landscape has enabled curating, consuming, and commenting on TV and video content to become a simple, seamless experience,” said Murdoch.  “With youth leading the movement, we anticipate that these trends will intensify in the coming years.”

To produce this report, Accenture polled just over 2,000 consumers via an online survey, split evenly between the two countries, weighted by age, gender, geographic region, race and education to be representative of the population at large.

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