S&P Global: Smart-TVs Have Little Impact on Streaming Content Selection

Internet-connected televisions have become the default consumer option at retail and in the home. But do so-called smart-TVs impact viewer streaming vide choices? New data from Kagan would suggest not.

Approximately three-quarters of U.S. internet households own at least one smart-TV, according to the research firm’s Q1 2022 U.S. Consumer Insights survey. However, the ability to access online digital entertainment directly from a smart-TV has had virtually no effect on consumer TV viewing behavior, according to the survey data.

Smart-TVs are defined as televisions with an integrated TV application platform that permits access to online digital entertainment and related content directly from the device. Smart-TVs encompass both high-definition, or HDTVs, as well as 4K TVs and 8K TVs. Nearly all TVs currently sold in the U.S. are smart-TVs.

But owning a smart-TV does not appear to promote substantially more online video viewing. One-third of adults who own a smart TV (33%) and those that do not (31%) cite watching mostly or primarily VOD content. The survey data also shows that subscription video on demand (SVOD) represents 45% of daily video viewing among smart-TV owners; essentially the same as those without a smart-TV (42%).

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A comparison between smart-TV and non-smart-TV households reveals that both groups watch an average of over four hours of TV programming per day. Among households without a smart-TV, 60% reported watching primarily or mostly live, linear TV compared to 52% for adults owning a smart-TV.

Historical survey data illustrates the rise in smart-TV ownership in the U.S., expanding eight percentage points over the past two years to 74%. Approximately nine out of 10 (88%) of those owning a smart-TV reported accessing online digital entertainment from the device over the past month. The survey data also shows that the average number of TVs per internet household in the U.S. dipped slightly from 2.8 TVs per household in 2021 to 2.5 TVs in 2022, a result of declining ownership of traditional HDTVs, or non-smart TVs, and older standard-definition TVs.

As of early 2022, U.S. internet households owned an average of 1.2 smart-TVs, according to Kagan. Nearly half (45%) of internet households own one smart TV, and another 29% own multiple smart-TVs. Among surveyed internet adults owning a smart TV, 41% reported owning at least one Samsung smart-TV. Vizio and LG were distant competitors, with 19% and 18% of U.S. smart-TV households owning these brands, respectively. TCL and Sony top the long tail of smart-TV competitors with ownership shares of 11% or less.

 

Vizio Ups Q1 SmartCast OS Streaming Hours 14%

Vizio May 12 reported that more than 4.1 billion hours of SmartCast OS content was streamed by the consumer electronics manufacturer’s smart TV owners in the first quarter, ended March 31. That was up 14% from 3.6 billion hours streamed in the previous-year period.

Vizio, like other Chinese CE manufacturers, has implemented a branded operating system affording users access to the internet and third-party apps and platforms. In addition, Vizio also streams select ad-supported video content in attempt to compete against AVOD platforms such as Tubi, Pluto TV and The Roku Channel, among others.

Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio ended the quarter with 15.6 million active accounts, which was up 16% from 13.5 million accounts in the previous-year period. Even better, average revenue per SmartCast user increased 64% to $23.68 from $14.43 per user last year.

Meanwhile, Vizio shipped 1.4 million Smart TVs in the quarter, which was down 11% from 1.5 million units in the previous-year period. Device revenue dropped 16% to $382.9 million, from $453.5 million.

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The company posted a net loss of $11 million on revenue of $485.5 million in the quarter, compared to profit of $3.4 million on revenue of $505.7 million a year ago.

“I am extremely proud of our exceptional first quarter results,” William Wang, CEO of Vizio, said in a statement. “It has been 20 years since [we] first revolutionized the TV market offer[ing] affordable HDTVs, smart-TVs, and six years ago we launched our own operating system.”

Vizio, which launched an IPO a year ago pricing shares at $21 each, saw shares close May 12 at $7.57 per share.

Parks Survey: Consumer Purchases of Sony Smart-TVs Grow

Out of the top five brands, Sony showed clear growth among smart TVs purchased or received in the previous six months compared to 2020, pushing it past Vizio and into the top three for reported purchases in Q3 2021.

That’s according to Parks Associates’ latest update of its Consumer Insights Dashboard, an ongoing service that tracks adoption of consumer electronic devices and services through its quarterly surveys of 10,000 U.S. internet households.

“Samsung continues to lead smart TV adoption, and it currently comprises over one-fourth of all consumers’ primary smart-TVs in the U.S.,” Paul Erickson, director of research for Parks Associates, said in a statement. “While smart-TV adoption is at all-time highs, there may be short-term saturation and conservatism in effect while consumer smart-TV purchasing settles following dramatic increases in 2020. Sony still managed to grow in purchasing — despite downturns for the traditional top three brands — which may be related to its first-mover release of new Google TV Bravia models over 2021.”

Heightened entertainment consumption has driven sustained high purchase intent for connected entertainment devices, according to Parks. Smart-TVs have not only become the most-adopted streaming video device but also the most favored for video consumption. Among survey respondents, 56% own a smart-TV; 73% own a home network router; 39% own a gaming console; and 57% own a desktop computer.

Smart-TVs, along with smart speakers/displays and desktop PCs, experienced growth during the pandemic due to an increase in consumers’ perceived value of these devices, according to Parks. Smart-TVs and smart speakers/displays have shown durability in sustaining growth and are expected to maintain elevated adoption in years to come.

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“This is notable given that the aggregate trend across categories has been a very gradual decline in overall usage since 2017,” Erickson said in a statement. “Smart-TVs have become the most-important media centerpiece for the home, and their prominence offers the industry numerous integration opportunities for smart home and connected health ecosystems.”

Parks: 55% of Broadband Homes Own a Smart-TV

Parks Associates reports that 55% of U.S. broadband households own a smart-TV, pushing this device to be the default platform for streaming content.

The Dallas-based research firm expects smart TVs to cement their position as the default connected streaming platform in 2022. Consumers are increasingly interested in having all their entertainment available on a single device, and as smart-TVs have become more affordable, with improved user interfaces (UIs), they offer an attractive integrated option for viewing all content.

“Rapid changes in the market over the past two years, combined with continually shifting customer preferences, have forced service and device suppliers to adjust and adapt on an almost daily basis,” Eric Sorensen, senior contributing analyst, said in a statement. “The standard in service now is to deliver desirable content so that consumers can view it when, where, and how they want it. Service providers, both conventional and online, will have to continue to adjust as consumer demands continue to evolve.”

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Parks also anticipates streaming services in 2022 will begin to recognize churn as a normal part of doing business. The average churn rate in 2020 was 40%; the current percentage is 45%. Streamers today typically subscribe to one or more foundational services — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, or Hulu — and then add three or more additional services, each offering unique and differentiated content, from which consumers unsubscribe once they no longer see the value in the cost or the content.

“We expect the traditional business models for movie windowing releases to erode more in 2022,” Sorensen said. “The box office will regain some of its strength, as ‘experience’ releases like sci-fi and action-adventure will continue to draw people to the theater, but for many films, movie studios generally benefit from bypassing exclusivity and releasing through multiple channels, including theaters and direct-to-consumer. In 2022, we will see more of this hybrid windowing strategy and experimentation.”

LG Electronics Unveils New TVs, Services at CES 2022

LG Electronics unveiled its new TV lineup for CES 2022, headlined by the company’s 2022 OLED TVs.

In a CES eve virtual media event introduced by singer John Legend, Jinnie Kim, LG Electronics USA director of home entertainment marketing, said, “Our 2022 lineup of LG TVs consists of the most expansive range of screen sizes and the brightest and finest picture quality ever.”

A CES Innovation Award honoree for eight consecutive years, LG OLED TVs employ self-lighting pixels that can be turned on and off individually to deliver perfect blacks, natural colors and better contrast, according to the company. 

The OLED evo technology featured in both G2 and select C2 series delivers higher brightness for ultra-realistic images, according to the company. Powered by LG’s new α (Alpha) 9 Gen 5 intelligent processor, the company’s “Brightness Booster” technology enables G2 series TVs to deliver even more brightness through improved heat dissipation and a more advanced algorithm, according to LG.

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LG’s 2022 G2 series, with a flush-to-the-wall “Gallery Design,” introduces a new 83-inch model and the world’s first 97-inch OLED model to complement the 55-, 65- and 77-inch TVs already in the lineup. LG’s C2 series offers a diverse selection of screen sizes with a total of six for 2022: the 42-inch OLED TV, ideal for console and PC gaming, in addition to 48-, 55-, 65-, 77- and 83-inch models.

The latest version of LG’s  Smart TV platform features webOS 22 that introduces personal profiles for a more customized viewing experience. Under each profile, users can set up fast access to their favorite streaming services, get tailored content recommendations based on viewing history and receive real-time alerts to keep up with favorite sports teams, according to LG. Logging into profiles can be performed either from the TV browser or from a smartphone with “NFC Magic Tap.”

“NFC Magic Tap” can also be used to mirror a mobile device screen to an LG TV. Viewers can also mirror content from one TV to another in the home using “Room to Room Share,” which enables the viewing of cable or satellite content on another TV via Wi-Fi without an additional set-top-box. Also new for 2022, “Always Ready” turns an LG TV into a media display when not in use. It is activated with a press of the power button on the LG remote to transform the screen into a digital canvas for showcasing artwork, keeping track of time or playing music.

Upgraded ThinQ AI allows LG’s 2022 TVs to offer voice control and compatibility with other ThinQ-powered devices. ThinQ AI offers support for “Matter,” a new industry standard for a more secure and seamlessly connected smart home, which will allow LG TVs to work as a controller for connected devices, according to LG.

The panels in the 2022 OLED lineups have been certified by global product testing agency Intertek for 100% color fidelity and 100% color volume, according to LG. LG TVs also “make it easier for customers to see movies as their creators intended as they were the first in 2021 to offer auto switching to Filmmaker Mode when enjoying Amazon Prime Video content,” according to the company.

New for 2022, LG customers can easily select and switch between game-specific features and display presets directly from the TV’s Game Optimizer menu. The Game Optimizer menu provides quick access to the new “Dark Room Mode,” which adjusts screen brightness for a better gaming experience when the lights are off, according to LG. A new sports mode joins presets for first-person shooter, role-playing and real-time strategy games.

LG is also unveiling an expanded QNED TV lineup for 2022 with LG’s Quantum Dot NanoCell technology. LG QNED Mini LED TV is capable of “amazing contrast” with LG’s Precision Dimming Technology, according to the company.

LG is also adding new services to its smart TVs. The LIVENow app offers access to online live concerts, shows, sports and other live events. The 1M HomeDance app, created in collaboration with 1MILLION Dance Studio, one of K-Pop’s choreography teams, provides a selection of dance tutorials and allows users to check their form with “Camera Mode” while dancing along with 1MILLION’s professional choreographers, as well as watch their favorite dance clips.

LG is also introducing its first health platform, LG Fitness. According to the company, it helps users find the ideal workout plan based on the system’s recommendations or create their own by choosing from a variety of options such as fast-paced HIIT, full-body stretching or guided meditation, among others, keeping track of their activity and progress on the app’s dashboard.

With Independa, the first tele-healthcare service supported on LG TVs, LG’s TVs can help users care for family members remotely or assist seniors to be more independent, according to LG. Independa makes it easy for users to initiate a video chat with a caregiver or access a menu of relevant professional services, according to LG. Pop-up notifications inform when someone is calling and personal alerts can be set up for more reminders. Professional services available on Independa include Dentulu (online dental consultation), Capital Rx (discount pharmacy platform), Coverdell (dental insurance benefits), WebMD (medical grade educational videos) and Sprio100 (fitness programs for seniors), among others.

Electric Entertainment Officially Launches OTT Service ElectricNow With Availability on Vizio Smart TVs

Electric Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production, distribution and post-production company, has announced the hard launch of its OTT app and channel ElectricNow, concurrently with the app’s availability on all Vizio SmartCast televisions.

SmartCast  users have around-the-clock access to Electric Entertainment’s produced content such as TV series “Leverage,” “The Librarians” and “The Outpost,” as well as acquired programming such as the feature films Blood on the Crown, starring Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell, and Heavy, starring Sophie Turner and Daniel Zovatto.

“We soft-launched ElectricNow in spring of 2020,” said Dean Devlin, CEO of Electric Entertainment, in a statement. “The consumer feedback and corresponding viewership has been well beyond our expectations.  We originally set out to create a hub where we could aggregate all of our various fan bases from ‘Leverage,’ ‘The Librarians,’ ‘The Outpost,’ ‘Almost Paradise’ and all of our podcast subscribers into a single space. Now with the app being available to this incredibly large consumer base via Vizio SmartCast, we are reaching a much broader more mainstream audience, picking up new fans along the way.”

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“With the addition of ElectricNow to SmartCast, we are continuing Vizio’s mission to provide our audiences with endless entertainment,” Chris Tanquary, director of business development and partnerships for Vizio, said in a statement. “ElectricNow’s hard launch is a great step in that effort, and gives SmartCast users access to their exciting original and acquired content.”

Electric Entertainment recently announced marathons on ElectricNow for its original programs “Leverage” and “The Outpost,” timed to coincide with the streaming and/or broadcasting of these program’s new episodes and seasons.

Devlin has seen ElectricNow as not only a one-stop-shop destination for fans of Electric’s programming, but also as a marketing tool to lead viewers to their streaming and broadcast partners, according to a company press release.

“Our fans and broadcast/streaming partners have been equally important to us,” he said in a statement. “Bringing them together has been a major initiative for us.”

Interpret: Half of Consumers Who Plan Smart-TV, Streaming Media Play Purchase are First-Timers

Half of consumers who plan to purchase a smart-TV or a streaming media player within the next three months will be first-time buyers, according to new data released June 29 by Interpret.

The remainder are existing owners who are replacing their streaming device, upgrading to a newer version, or switching to a new brand.

According to Interpret’s “Streaming Devices: Platforms, Brands, and Consumers 2021” report, 10% of consumers plan to buy a smart TV and a similar number plan a streaming media player purchase within the next quarter. Samsung and Vizio owners are the least likely to replace their smart TV, and Roku owners are the least likely to want to replace their streaming media player.

The study also found:

  • 18% of Roku owners plan to replace their device within the next three months;
  • 17% of Samsung owners and 18% of Vizio owners plan to replace their devices within the next three months.

 

“With half of buyers being new to smart TVs and streaming media players, this sector of consumer electronics is primed for continued growth,” said Brett Sappington, Interpret’s VP of research. “However, not all streaming device brands will enjoy the full benefit of that growth. Our research shows that each brand attracts a unique consumer audience, with differing characteristics, habits, and preferences that are often related to key features. Those brands that best meet consumers’ needs stand the best chance of gaining market share.”

Samba TV: Box Office Champ ‘Conjuring 3’ Attracted 1.6M Streaming Households Over the Weekend

While topping the box office over the weekend, Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It also managed to attract 1.6 million streaming households June 4-7, according to data from smart-TV viewer tracking service Samba TV.

The horror flick is concurrently in theaters and streaming at no additional charge to HBO Max subscribers for 31 days.

Despite its streaming availability, the threequel earned $24 million at the domestic box office June 4-6 to topple the previous top earner, Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II.

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The streaming audience skewed lower income ($75,000 and less), younger (44 and below), black (+19%) and Hispanic (+41%). Of the 25 largest DMAs, Phoenix over-indexed the most (+47%), according to Samba TV data.

Samsung TV Plus Adds Impact Wrestling

Professional wrestling organization Impact Wrestling, a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, has inked an agreement with Samsung TV Plus, giving viewers access to its library of wrestling content through both a dedicated Impact Wrestling Channel and on VOD.

Samsung TV Plus is a free ad-supported streaming (FAST) service, offering viewers instant access to more than 160 channels. Samsung TV Plus comes pre-installed on 2016-21 Samsung Smart TVs and is available on select Samsung Galaxy devices. Impact’s dedicated channel is on channel 1,164 on Samsung TV Plus.

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“This new partnership presents an invaluable opportunity for us to bring Impact Wrestling’s exclusive premium content to even more viewers across the country,” Jaime Pollack, Anthem’s chief revenue officer for its sports media group, said in a statement. “We are excited to share our deep, generation-spanning library with Samsung TV Plus’ audience — giving wrestling fans both old and new a chance to enjoy all of the larger-than-life personas, legendary matches, and gripping story-telling that Impact Wrestling is known for.”

Impact Wrestling includes almost two decades of new and classic original content, with classic stars, including Ric Flair, Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and AJ Styles, as well as a current roster of athletes, including Rich Swann, The Good Brothers, former NFL player Moose, Deonna Purrazzo, Sami Callihan, Eddie Edwards, Jordynne Grace, Eric Young and Chris Bey.

Impact programming is televised globally in 120 countries including AXS TV in the United States.

PBS Kids Channel Available on Samsung TV Plus

The PBS Kids channel has been added to Samsung TV Plus and is available for free on tens of millions of Samsung smart TVs across the country.

It joins eight other free kids’ channels on Samsung TV Plus.

PBS Kids includes such shows as “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Wild Kratts” and “Odd Squad.”

Other family friendly channels on Samsung TV Plus include The Lego Channel, Moonbug Kids and KiDoodle.TV. The Samsung TV Plus platform includes more than 160 free channels of movies, news, sports and more.

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