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.

German Home Entertainment Market Topped $10 Billion in 2018

The German home entertainment market – the fifth largest in the world – reached about €9 billion ($10.3 billion) in consumer spending in 2018, according to new data from Futuresource Consulting. The tally represented a 6% increase from 2017.

Principle drivers included subscription streaming led by Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Indeed, Netflix upped its market penetration 50% in the country last year.There are now over 10 million German households subscribing to one or more service, which means that a quarter of German households are actively engaging with SVOD.

“The two services are mostly complementary and there is room for both to thrive,” analyst Tristen Veale said in a statement.

Moving forward, Futuresource expects multiple subscriptions per household to drive the market and, outside of Amazon and Netflix, there is a growing number of specialist services available directly, or via aggregators such as Amazon Channels.

The research firm expects major D2C launches such as Disney+ in the longer term, along with broadcaster-led initiatives in the near term, which it contends would help maintain strong subscription growth. This year, the German SVOD market will have doubled in 2 years and is forecast to exceed €1 billion ($1.15 billion) in 2020.

Five years ago, DVD and Blu-ray Disc accounted for 90% of consumer spending on home entertainment video in Germany (excluding theatrical and pay-TV). Fast forward to the end of 2018, and packaged media dipped below 50% of consumer spending – despite ongoing strength of Blu-ray.

“Some, but not all, of this deficit is being replaced by growth of digital purchasing or rental,” said Veale. “By 2021, we expect consumers to spend more on renting or purchasing digital movies and TV shows than they will on DVD’s and Blu-rays. However, transactional home video sellthrough and rental is a declining market segment overall; spending is expected to fall by an average of 9% per year between 2018 and 2022.”

Finally, consumer spending on pay-TV accounts for two thirds of the video entertainment market and is growing, even though many European markets are seeing stagnation or even declines, according to Futuresource.

“In Germany there is increased dynamism in the market, with an increased number of providers offering low cost, skinny bundle services as a viable alternative to the entrenched free-to-air/basic cable plans and premium subscriptions from Sky, which are currently available,” Veale said.

 

Mexico vs. Sweden World Cup Soccer Generates Telemundo’s Highest Non-Super Bowl Digital Audience

With the United States and Canada not playing in the ongoing 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia, Mexico represents North America’s biggest draw.

The El Tri didn’t disappoint (except for losing 3-0), with the June 27 streaming presentation Mexico vs. Sweden in group play generating a record 1 million concurrent live streams on digital devices across TelemundoDeportes.com, the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app, and the NBC Sports app.

Despite the loss, Mexico (and Sweden) advances to the elimination round following defending champion Germany’s 2-0 loss to South Korea.

The digital tally was the most for any event in NBC Sports Digital history, excluding Super Bowls, and the only event other than the Super Bowl to hit the 1 million mark.

Fox Sports has exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to Russia 2018. Telemundo is owned by Comcast, which is attempting to acquire 20thCentury Fox Film.

In addition, the 1.02 million concurrent livestreams topped by 53% the prior non-Super Bowl mark – 665,000 for the Mexico-South Korea match on June 23.

On June 26, the World Cup reached 3.2 million unique digital users and generated 106 million minutes viewed. To date, the quadrennial tournament has reached 9.3 million total unique users and generated 89.1 million livestreams and 1.35 billion total minutes viewed, averaging 2.0 million livestreams per match.

Notably, Argentina’s last-minute win over Nigeria, which advanced the Lionel Messi-led squad to the second round, delivered an average of 2.85 million streaming viewers – ranking as Telemundo Deportes’ most-watched weekday match through June 26.

Telemundo delivered its best-ever June 26 daytime (7 a.m.-5 p.m. ET), averaging 1.58 million digital viewers for its World Cup coverage – topping the prior record set June 20 by 41% (1.12 million).

 

German SVOD Market Growing

Among Western European countries, Germany and France have been slow to adopt subscription streaming video, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. That appears to be changing in Germany.

At the end of 2017, 18% of all German households were subscribing to at least one paid video-on-demand service, according to new data from Goldmedia.com. The market appears to be on a growth trajectory. Total revenue at the end of 2017 amounted to €1.1 billion and are anticipated to more than double within only five years, climbing to €2.5 billion by 2023.

Amazon Prime Video and Netflix continue to lead the pack in the German VOD market. Other players are British satellite TV operator Sky, Maxdome, Apple iTunes and Google Play. Specialist sports streaming services such as DAZN and Eurosport are also seeing an increase in users.

Goldmedia said SVOD services account for the highest share of turnover in the German VOD market with a market share around share of 74%, growing to 80% share by 2023.

Similar to the U.S., Amazon and Netflix are focusing heavily on producing original content in Germany. Goldmedia said licensed titles streamed via transactional VOD and electronic sellthrough are also popular among users, notably theatrical movies available to view on-demand just months after they have been released in cinemas.

The report said other key market drivers include access to content via smart TVs or special streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick. The growing number of German households with high-speed broadband connections is also boosting VOD’s technical reach.

The rural market is continuing to play catch-up and is projected to be a major source of market growth going forward. Goldmedia predicts that every other household with a broadband connection will subscribe to a VOD service by 2019.

Unlike the U.S., major sports programming in Europe is increasingly going online. The first match of the 2017/2018 Bundesliga soccer season could only be viewed online via Eurosport’s streaming media device.

Amazon just announced an exclusive streaming deal with the U.K.’s Premier League, beginning in 2019.