Editor’s note: Stuart Schneiderman is the senior vice president of consumer insights and measurement for Viacom Media networks. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Viacom research finds TV Everywhere ‘additive’ to TV viewing experience.”
While still nascent in terms of awareness and usage, TV Everywhere (TVE) presents a significant opportunity for brands to grow and strengthen their relationships with fans. The TVE experience is defined as watching full-length TV programs on sites and apps by “authenticating” – using one’s pay TV log-in information. Viacom’s “TV here, there, (not quite) everywhere” study* explores consumers’ perceptions, expectations and experiences around TVE apps and sites. The findings reveal an increase in overall TV viewing among TVE users, as well as greater customer loyalty toward pay TV providers that offer TVE services.
The majority agrees: TVE is additive to the TV viewing experience.
- Since they began using TVE apps and sites, 64 percent of users report watching more TV overall. This finding is even stronger among Millennials, with 72 percent watching more TV.
- For those using TVE, the television is still the go-to source for TV shows and watching live.
- After live TV, TVE apps and sites are a strong alternative, rivaling VOD, DVR and other sites that don’t require authentication with a pay TV provider, such as subscription streaming services or other free sites.
TVE increases the value of pay TV subscriptions and strengthens loyalty toward pay TV providers and networks.
- A full 98 percent of users say TVE adds value to their pay TV subscription, with 67 percent saying it adds “a lot” of value; and
- ninety-three percent are more likely to stay with their provider due to TVE and 68 percent have a more favorable impression of networks that offer TVE experiences.
I want my TVE: main drivers of usage
Content is king. Whether to re-watch or catch up, content is one of the biggest drivers of the use of TVE. Thirty-one percent report re-watching episodes and 22 percent report starting a show from the first season. Over two-thirds report using TVE more often than other third-party/free sites because they can find: more shows overall (42 percent); the shows/series they want to watch (38 percent); and exclusives (23 percent).
True flexibility – TVE allows viewers to watch shows when, where and how they want:
- Nearly one-third of users use TVE because they weren’t able to watch the show live;
- twenty-eight percent use TVE because they are away from home; and
- twenty-two percent use TVE because all TVs were in use, and the same percentage cite being able to move around the house.
Staying savvy – TVE users consider themselves early adopters:
- One-fifth says they started using TVE because they like to be the first to try new things.
- TVE users are also much more likely to own and access TV shows on a range of different devices, including tablets, set-top-boxes and Smart TVs.
Barriers to adoption
- The main barriers to adoption are a lack of perceived need, concerns about hidden costs, lack of awareness and screen size.
- There is no go-to source of discovery: 17 percent of users heard about TVE from an ad on TV; 16 percent were made aware by a spouse or partner; and 54 percent of kids learned about it from their parents.
- While 19 percent of users say they have no problems with their TVE experiences, the top issues tend to be tech-related, including loading/buffering (24 percent) and crashing/freezing (23 percent). Content-related issues are far less common.
The ideal TVE experience
- Flexibility of a “digital DVR”: Viewers want to be able to pause a show and pick it up at another time, even on another device. Most popular “wants” are: the abilities to start/stop (66 percent); to watch on any device (64 percent); and to use outside of their home Wi-Fi (60 percent).
- Deep content libraries: Viewers want instant gratification and complete and deep content libraries, including immediate access to recent episodes (65 percent), old seasons of shows (62 percent), content that never expires (62 percent) and live TV (56 percent).
- Smart search: Intuitive search functionalities are crucial. Consumers want clear search boxes to search for specific shows (68 percent), organized content (59 percent) and the ability to make queues or lists of favorites for later viewing (55 percent).
- Custom logins: Particularly in multi-person households or for those with kids in the home, the ability to customize (52 percent) and have accounts for multiple users (48 percent) is important.
While viewers find TVE additive, there is a general lack of awareness around these services, suggesting that TVE apps and services would benefit from increased consumer marketing. In addition, insights on what users want out of TVE– flexibility, extensive content, smart search and custom logins – can guide content and product teams in creating the ideal TVE experiences for viewers.
*Methodology: For the purposes of this study, the TV Everywhere experience is defined as watching full-length TV programs on sites and apps by “authenticating,” or using pay TV log-in information. The methodology involved digital online journals, focus groups and ethnographies in New York and Chicago. Online surveys were conducted with more than 1,300 Viacom viewers ages 13 to 49 and more than 600 kids ages two to 12. Participants included both users of TV Everywhere and non-users.