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NAB: Accenture study shows consumers embracing new video platforms

Consumers are adapting quickly to the availability of more video platform choices and are watching more video content than ever before, according to Accenture’s second annual Global Broadcast Consumer Survey. The message to video service providers: Capture consumer loyalty now or risk being left behind.

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The most significant finding of the survey of nearly 14,000 consumers in 13 countries, according to Accenture, is that the traditional TV viewing audience continues to fragment, but viewing of broadcast content on all platforms, including traditional TV viewing is still growing. Consumers are moving quickly to adopt new viewing platforms, but overall viewership is increasing as well.

The number of respondents watching six or more television channels was up 5% to 40%, and those watching eight more television programs per week was up 6% to 39%. Almost three-quarters of respondents said they enjoy viewing content on PCs, a 13% jump, and 45% are watching on mobile devices, also a 13% increase over the 2008 study.

The survey shows consumers of all ages are quickly making decisions about their viewing options, putting some pressure on video service providers to get their offers right, said Accenture’s David Wolf, a senior executive with Accenture’s Media & Entertainment practice. 

“Consumers are making choices based on what they’ve tried, liked and rejected and are now selecting content and its delivery platforms,” Wolf said in a prepared statement. “If today’s content services don’t meet consumer expectations, it will be that much harder for providers to sell to them later, even when services improve. Providers face an urgent need to capture consumer loyalty now -- and respond to changing consumption habits -- or face playing catch-up against other content delivery choices. The modes of consumption that provide an alternative to the traditional TV experience are becoming part of everyday life rather than the occasional novelty. Consequently, providers in this evolving market must drive the consumer experience by offering the right type of content via the right device for a particular market.”

Mobile device content was far more popular in developing nations than in developed countries, the survey found.  In the US, 50% of the under-25 set want content on their mobile devices, compared with 9% of those 55 or older. In Malaysia, however, more than 50% of all age groups want mobile content, including 71% in the 25-34 age bracket and 69% of those 55 or older.

Consumers were more loyal to their programs than to channels or platforms, the Accenture survey showed. Almost three-quarters said they want programs on more than one channel. Consumers are discovering content through traditional means, despite more Internet availability. They cited commercials (40%), channel-surfing (33%), recommendations from friends and family (30%) and TV listings (28%) as their primary means of finding content.

And despite a bad economy, consumers are willing to pay for programming, although 40% said they would prefer to watch ads in exchange for free content. The preferred payment model was buying a subscription to unlimited programming rather than a pay for play option. Younger viewers were more willing to pay for programming but also more willing to watch ads and pay nothing.

“This underscores the recession-resistant nature of subscription models even in today’s tough economic climate,” Wolf said.

DVD sales were the hardest hit by economic concerns, with 6% less demand, followed by video-on-demand (down 5%) and content downloading (3% down), the Accenture survey showed.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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