91% of UK consumers who have a TV connected to the Internet are heavy VOD users who regularly use a VOD video platform. On average, these connected TV users are watching 4-5 VOD platforms. Operator set-top boxes are almost as important as Smart TVs when it comes to connecting a television set to the Internet in the UK. Half the country’s connected TV users have a Smart TV that is connected directly via built-in capabilities, 47% have a TV connected via an operator set-top-box, and 26% have their TV connected via an external device such as a TV stick, TV box or gaming console.
These findings are based on a representative study of 1,006 UK consumers in February by the independent research company Happydemics. The study was commissioned by FreeWheel, the advanced ad-tech solutions provider and Comcast subsidiary. 80% of the consumers have a connected TV set in their household (a TV that is actually connected) and only this 80% sub-group were asked further questions about their viewing behaviour.
63% of the connected TV users said they pay for an SVOD service, and 45% say they use a broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) service. 20% use a free ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) platform (other than a free broadcaster streaming offer). Happydemics wanted to understand the attitude of known SVOD users to AVOD and found that 28% of them already use AVOD regularly and that 24% are considering using AVOD alongside SVOD. This study also revealed that 14% are interested in replacing a paid SVOD service with AVOD.
UK respondents that connect their TV set using an external device such as a set-top-box, TV stick or games console are more likely to watch ad-supported video, with 28% using an AVOD platform (versus 20% of all connected TV users).
61% of the UK connected TV viewers who took the Happydemics survey say connected TV is their preferred device for watching VOD. The top two reasons for this preference are that they can enjoy a better user experience (59%), and that they can watch together with family and friends (40%). Only 38% of the 15–24-year-olds in the study prefer connected TV for VOD consumption, however, with 27% of them saying they would rather use a mobile device or computer.
The top three reasons for preferring a mobile device in the 15-24 demo are the ability to watch video on the go at any time, a quest for privacy, and the intimacy of the viewing experience. 59% of this age range who like viewing video content on connected TV indicate that they do so because it allows them to use a mobile device at the same time.
The study also explored attitudes to advertising and found that among all connected TV users, 64% of consumers say they pay most attention to ads seen on this screen (versus other screens like computers, mobiles, etc.) 58% of connected TV users find advertising less intrusive on this screen than on other screens. 59% say they prefer personalised ads that are relevant to their individual interests – with this figure rising to 66% among the 15-24 age group.
Virginie Dremeaux, Executive Director, Product and Sales Marketing International at FreeWheel comments, “The results of this study illustrate how on-demand video appears to be a staple of UK viewing, and that connected TV is the preferred device of the respondents for accessing this premium content due to the enhanced user experiences and opportunity for shared viewing.
“The consumers who were surveyed tend to be shifting to new premium video platforms across the streaming ecosystem and are open to relevant and personalised advertising messages on the TV set. It is significant to note that interest in ad-supported platforms seems to be strong among the respondents, especially among subscribers to paid-for video services.”