PCs still hold sway for OTT viewing audience, survey says

AMSTERDAM--The personal computer remains the preferred viewing device for over-the-top (OTT) video worldwide, followed by tablets and smartphones, a new survey conducted by SPB TV reveals. But the television is still holding its own as a home for high-quality "destination" viewing such as sports.

Switzerland-based SPB TV provides OTT, IPTV and mobile TV solutions to operators and providers in several regions of the world including Russia, Asia and Latin America. The company presented its report here at IBC.

In response to a question about the frequency with which they watched Internet TV or video on specific devices, 41 percent of survey respondents said they accessed programming using their desktop or laptop computers several times per week. Mobile devices trailed that figure, with 25 percent of respondents accessing video via their smartphone and 17 percent accessing it through a tablet several times per week. Eighteen percent said they use a smart TV to access video content online.

The personal computer won again when it came to length of viewing time for OTT video, with 59 percent of respondents saying they watch more than 30 minutes at a time on their desktop or laptop. That was followed somewhat closely by smart TVs, with 51 percent saying they watch for more than 30 minutes straight. Long-form views were rare for mobile phone users, with 21 percent--the lowest number--saying they watched for more than a half hour.

In fact, SPB TV's numbers on mobile phone watching appeared in line with other research showing that users watch less than 10 minutes of OTT video on their smartphones. In this case, 26 percent of respondents fell into that category. With Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) testing short-form content specifically for mobile devices, it's a sure bet that OTT providers are paying closer attention to time spent watching, when and how.

What drives viewer behavior on each device? SPB asked respondents to name specific factors in their decision to use certain devices. High-quality movies and series as well as the availability of live events like sports and concerts were top reasons to stick with TV. For tablets and smartphones, time-shifting was one of the top three reasons cited for use. Free content was a top draw on all devices.

"TV-set watching patterns are still quite traditional--users require good content and high quality of video, while not paying much attention to innovative features and engagement elements," according to the report. Meantime, "Tablets are indeed mobile replacements for computers rather than elaborate versions of smartphones. Even TV viewing patterns on tablets are closer to those on PCs than on smartphones. Above all, tablet owners also appreciate good content and flexibility to access it any time and enjoy it in HD quality."

SPB TV gathered web- and mobile-based surveys from 50,000 of its 35 million users in its latest annual report. Most were located in Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, India, Ukraine and Russia. The majority, 38 percent, were in the 21-29 year-old age range, followed by 25 percent of respondents in the 30-39 year-old range. Thirteen percent were in the 18-20 age range and 11 percent between 40 and 49 years of age.

SPB TV survey

Fig. 6: Desktops and laptops outstripped other devices in frequency of viewing OTT video. (Source: SPB TV Survey 2014)

For more:
- read the press release

Show coverage: IBC Live 2014

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