Study: Online TV Is Second-Most-Popular TV Viewing Choice in U.K., Sweden and Germany

A new survey of TV viewers in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany found that online TV is now the second most popular viewing source behind pay-TV, with usage ranging from just under 40% in Germany to more than 50% in the U.K. and Sweden.

Nielsen company Gracenote and digital media analyst firm nScreenMedia conducted the survey, “TV Universe — U.K., Sweden, Germany: How People Watch Television Today,” in the first quarter of 2019, focusing on pay TV, free-to-air and online TV viewership in the three European countries that account for 31% of the European Union’s total population, according to Statista.

The online TV viewership growth in the three countries “is a remarkable rise as online TV is a relatively new offering,” according to the research firms. In fact, Netflix launched in the United Kingdom in just 2012. Whereas 12 years ago most homes relied on a single-source for TV, today nearly half of viewers in all three of the countries studied are multi-source television households, the researchers noted.

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“Consumer behavior relating to TV viewing is changing rapidly in Europe as it is around the world,” said Simon Adams, chief product officer, Gracenote, in a statement.

Pay TV is currently the most popular television source in the U.K. and Sweden with nearly two in three consumers in each market using it, the survey found, but in Germany the most popular source is free-to-air TV, which accounts for the vast majority of viewers at nearly eight in 10.

In all three European markets surveyed, consumers pointed to on-screen program guides and user interfaces as being critical tools for finding content to watch. Six in 10 viewers indicated visual imagery and TV artwork displayed in guides exert important influence on their viewing choices. Among the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, the number jumped up to around 90%. In addition, respondents indicated TV show and movie descriptions that shed light on content are also factors in their tune-in decision-making, with 70% of U.K. viewers, 65% of Swedes and 57% of Germans saying the program descriptions were at least somewhat important.

The study also found free-to-air TV is gaining traction on mobile with more free-to-air viewers using broadcaster apps to supplement viewing than pay TV viewers use their operator “TV Everywhere” apps. In fact, more than half of free-to-air users in each country use broadcaster apps.

The smart TV is the preferred device to watch video content on in all three countries, according to the study. A significant 70% of total viewing time is on the TV screen in the United Kingdom and Germany, while in Sweden, it is 60%. Samsung is the most popular TV brand in all three countries.

Other insights include:

  • 17% of the U.K. study group use all three TV sources available to them, higher than in Sweden and Germany;
  • While the on-screen guide is the dominant way Swedes and Brits find content to watch, newspaper TV guides and channel flipping are the main ways for Germans; and
  • 31% of Swedes consider online TV to be their primary TV source, the highest of the three countries studied.

 

“The new TV Universe study shows that online TV has become the second most popular source of TV entertainment in a remarkably short period of time,” said Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst at nScreenMedia in a statement. “Also telling is the fact that, though most online viewing takes place on the television, consumers don’t have the discovery tools they need to efficiently find something to watch there. Features such as voice and cross-service search are thinly used in each country. There is also plenty of room for improvement with content recommendations as a quarter or less think they accurately reflect their interests.”

The consumer research study conducted from February to March 2019 surveyed 1,500 adult TV viewers in the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. The data was weighted to represent the general population of each country. The full report is available for free download now at nScreenMedia.com.

Rakuten TV Gets Direct-Access on Samsung, LG, Philips and Hisense TV Remotes

Rakuten TV March 14 announced partnerships with Samsung Electronics, LG, Philips and Hisense to introduce a remote control button on their smart TV units in Europe and Pan America directly linking to the streaming video service.

The move comes about eight years after Netflix began incorporating its logo/button on TV remote controls in the United States. The SVOD pioneer followed up in Europe in 2015.

Barcelona-based Rakuten TV, which offers digital retail, rental of Hollywood movies, in addition to subscription streaming video throughout Europe, said incorporating its logo/button on TV remotes would increase its presence worldwide, including reaching more than 30 Million households and tripling its distribution from 12 to 40 countries in 2019.

The platform, which is owned by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten, was previously known as Wuaki.tv. A year ago, Rakuten acquired British-based TalkTalk TV, which was previously known as Blinkbox.

The service said it would also increase selection of 4K HDR movies in all the 40 European countries involved in the expansion. Last year it became the first in Europe to offer 4K UHD content in Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos on LG smart televisions.

“This is a major step that our company is undertaking within a plan of expansion, which aims at making Rakuten TV the first choice of entertainment for Smart TV owners,” founder/CEO Jacinto Roca said in a statement.

“This is proof of our commitment with providing an always better experience to cinema lovers. With this move, Rakuten TV will triple its presence on a continental level, strengthening its commitment to deliver the best cinematic experience at home.”

Report: U.S. Continues to Lead Global Online Video Consumption

With the United States the birthplace of subscription video-on-demand, YouTube and other over-the-top video platforms, it should be no surprise that it leads Europe in the consumption of video on smart phones and TVs.

But Europe is catching up, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm found that 32% of broadband users in the U.S. streamed video on their smartphone in the third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) compared to 23% in Europe. Consumption of OTT video on the TV was 66% in the U.S. and 60% in Europe.

Indeed, Europeans now consume more online video on the computer, including laptops and tablets (65%) than do Americans (61%).

“As online video viewing in the U.S .continues to grow, consumers are watching TV and film content on a wide range of devices, especially smart TVs and smartphones,” analyst Hannah Walsh said in a statement.“While the online video sector in the US has developed faster than European markets, a similar trend can be seen in both regions.”

Ampere found that 47% of U.S. survey respondents preferred using OTT video platforms (19% very strongly) to watch movies and TV shows compared to 35% (11%) in Europe.

“As [SVOD] continues to progress in European markets, the proportion of consumers who watch video on smartphones will rise, alongside the number of consumers who use online video services as their main way to watch TV,” said Walsh.