A recent Adobe Systems' Digital Index Report suggests that social and mobile media use is fueling an increase in video consumption. Enough so that Adobe's launching their own "TV Everywhere" platform.Meanwhile, a report from Accenture suggests that using social and mobile media while watching TV was a distraction and hurt TV viewing. Meanwhile, a study for the Interactive Advertising Bureau suggests that using social media is fairly common - at least if you're watching TV via online streaming. Add to that a study by NPD group finding that almost half of TV viewers with mobile devices have engaged in second-screen activities related to the program they were watching.
At first glance all these seem contradictory, or at least problematic. Some of the confusion goes away when you go beyond the headlines to what each of the reports actually looked at.
2012 Digital Index Report is based on a look at Internet analytics of online video starts (excluding User Generated Video), online ads, and Facebook posts, comments, shares, and likes. Thus it's looking at actual online video use; not media user attitudes, behaviors, or intentions. What it found was a rapid growth in the number of videos accessed, 30 % increase from 2011 to 2012, and 50% from the end of 2010 to the end of 2012. The increased viewing in the last part of 2012 was driven largely by an expansion in available sports content. The study also found that viewing on mobile devices tripled in the last year (300% for smartphones, 360% for tablets). The study also found that the videos watched on smartphones was primarily "content snacking" - short news, weather, and sports clips - and mostly watched outside the home. In contrast, tablet viewing was for longer periods, and occurred primarily at home. Video use was heaviest on days with big sporting events. Video social engagement jumped from 42% to 70% over the last year, and by the end of 2012, 77% of viral content were videos.
In other words, there were a lot more videos available online, people were watching online video more often, and they were including more video (directly or indirectly) in their social media activities. They were also tailoring their use - linking their viewing behaviors to the relative advantages of particular devices, and to the situational context. Adobe's conclusions -
- For advertisers, targeted ad content will become more of a reality with large TV programmers beginning to latch onto the multiple digital video distribution methods. With mobile devices continuing to shape the way consumers respond to media content, the data shows that multiple forms of digital video access are here to stay and mobile continues to be a viable medium for TV and sports related video content.
- For broadcasters, new platforms are providing incremental value and targeting capabilities. Early adopters of digital video are affluent, engaged, multi-device consumer which should spur advertisers to pay extra to gain access to this crowd. With strictly online media companies producing unique content, it may only be a matter of time before all TV publishers are wanting to make more content readily available because it is the most beneficial for them and the consumer.
- For consumers, digital video leads us to an entirely different way to consume content, where we pay one time for digital access to content and are then able to gain access on a variety of different technology platforms. Challenges still remain before TV Everywhere is really everywhere, with the majority of consumers deciding to remain with standard TV for broadcast content. However, the future is bright for technology already adopted by many large TV and sports broadcasters as a valuable way to reach a growing mobile consumer base with valuable video content.
Consumers were more than twice as likely to watch full-length content such as movies and TV series on a connected TV, than they are on their PC. That trend is reversed when it comes to short clips and user-generated contentHowever, all is not rosy; more than half of respondents found in-program advertising and long load times frustrating. Almost as many (45%) were concerned about the poor video quality (in terms of resolution) of much online video. Those concerns are highest among younger users; suggesting that those are things the online video industry needs to address for long-term success. A good sign for the industry is that 43% of the sample are already paying for at least some online video access. and 69% said they would be willing to pay for high-quality video-on-demand content. At least if the cost isn't too high - only 10% said they might be willing to pay $10 a month or more for an online video subscription.
One focus of the study was the exploration of multitasking, particularly while watching TV. A majority of respondents indicated that they engage in some other media use regularly. When they do so, it's predominantly online: 62% report using a desktop PC or laptop while watching TV, 41% report using a phone or smartphone, and 11% report using tablets to multitask - while 28% will read a newspaper or book, and 9% will play videogames. One of the more interesting questions the survey asked was what people were looking for when watching online video. The most frequently cited purpose was for time-shifting (31%), followed by looking for good programs when there aren't any on regular TV (28%), the ability to build your own viewing schedule (23%), and accessing premium content (18%).
(W)hen it comes to those who access video over Internet on their TV sets ... the flexibility from video on demand, and in particular catch-up access to a catalogue of recent content, and PVR capabilities (were) important attributes. The appeal of these functions as available over the Internet suggests growing consumer sophistication.Accessing program-specific apps and social media were not widely cited as motivations. It's the poor showing of apps and social that have some questioning the prevalence and value of "second-screen" behaviors, as those often focus on using the second screen to expand the "first screen" viewing experience. In fact, only 14% of respondents indicated that the second screen was used for purposes related to the particular TV program.
There's another interesting contrast in most preferred features for watching online video on TV sets (connected TVs), and using tablets for watching videos. Preferred features for connected TVs were being able to access video-on-demand content, accessing recently aired TV programs, PVR functionality, and Web surfing. Preferred features for tablets were accessing channels not available locally, accessing video-on-demand, the ability to download videos, and accessing regular TV channels. Backing this up was the finding that, for every country surveyed, there is more use of international online video services than local or national online video services.
In conclusion the report suggests that
Demand for (online video) services looks set to grow strongly as consumers have already embraced new services with enthusiasm. The consumer is also prepared to pay. But that willingness is likely to be conditional on having access to specific services on each distinct device that will contribute to their overall video experience. Consumers will not, however, compromise on quality.The focus on integrating online video into viewing experience, and quality content and production is supported by a recent report from Gfk for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which suggests that ads delivered by some types of online video yields virtually the same consumer receptivity rates that are delivered by prime-time TV. The study focused on consumption of Original Professional Online Video (OPOV), online TV prrogramming, as well as user-generated content (UGC). The OPOV delivered the highest receptivity for accompanying video ads.
Users overwhelmingly prefer to watch online video at home (OPOV 89%;UGC 88%; and online TV 93%), and use a range of devices to do so. Viewers of both types were more likely to use social media while watching TV (OPOV - 41%; UGC 51%) than watching TV programming online (35%). The finding that almost all online TV viewing is done at home suggests that its becoming part of the fundamental viewing experience - a mechanism for extending time-shifting and catching up with missed episodes and series.
Sources - Mobile, Social Drive Highest Video Consumption, Online Media Daily
Adobe launches 'Primetime' TV Everywhere service, points out we're watching a ton more video, VentureBeat.
Tablets Up Rates of TV Multitasking, OnlineMediaDaily
Second Screens: Not Always Focused On First-Screen Shows, TVWatch
Online Video Rivals TV For Viewers, OnlineMediaDaily