Piksel, a global leader in both live and on demand video streaming products and services, recently released a 2200-person study across the US and UK for TV viewers aged 17 to 55. The results of this survey are included in this report.
The broadcast, media and entertainment industry is
evolving at pace — not just in terms of technology
changes, but also viewing behaviour and content
choice. One of the key challenges for broadcasters
and over-the-top (OTT) providers is keeping viewers
engaged. It is not enough to have a wide content
catalogue; rather there are myriad other elements
which affect the customer experience.
With the growth in providers, device choice and
sources of content, it becomes increasingly important
to understand just what viewers actually want, how
they search for what they want and how they actually
watch it when they do find it.
2016 saw the UK enjoying the 80th anniversary
of the birth of television — regular programming
began on November 2nd, 1936 on the BBC1
that time television has undergone some dramatic
changes, the bulk of which have taken place in the
last few years. It began with the transition to HD,
then popularity of 4K, and that’s not forgetting the
short-lived 3D television. Of course, as the television
set has developed, other devices, from laptops
to smartphones and tablets, are also being used
to “watch TV”. All that is needed is a fast internet
connection and viewers have a wealth of content at
their fingertips, wherever they are.
To understand viewing behaviour, search and
discovery methods, as well as the role of the television,
Piksel commissioned independent survey consultancy
Censuswide to conduct a study amongst consumers
in the UK and US. This report is based on the responses
of online interviews with 2,207 respondents aged 16-
55+, between 16–17 November 2016.
What are consumers watching?
When it comes to types of content, drama and TV series are the most
watched (69%), followed by news and documentary (40%), sitcoms and
soaps (34%), films (33%) and reality TV (27%). The research shows significant
differences between US and UK audiences.
‘Tis the season for
sharing …the remote
The Festive Season is normally a time
spent with family, filled with traditions,
merriment and good food — and
what better way to complement
that than by watching television
together. But one of the main causes
of contention is who chooses what
you watch. While consumers say they
generally watch the same amount of
TV over the holidays (73% agree) as
they do throughout the rest of the year,
our research reveals that one person
in the household is mainly responsible
for handling the remote control — 63%
of respondents said they were the
ones that pushed the buttons, with
only 26% saying they took it in turns.
However, during the holidays, this
attitude relaxes slightly, with turn taking
increasing to 46% and one-person
dominance decreasing to almost half.
Christmas viewing, according to
respondents, is mostly likely to be live
television watched with family and
friends for about three hours a day.
Most watched content
Drama and TV
Films Reality TV
How long do you search for content?
Search and discovery
As a consumer, we’ve all been there — facing the television with an evening ahead of us, but struggling in vain to
find something good to watch. From a broadcaster and content provider point of view, making sure audiences can
find engaging programming is absolutely essential. Why? Because, according to our research, if nothing appropriate
is found the majority (62%) will either change the channel or switch to a different provider, with the remaining 38%
giving up and switching off. This further demonstrates the clear need for both linear and digital providers to invest more
resources into improving the process and making it easier for viewers to find good content — after all, as the research
shows, viewers aren’t tied to one channel or provider and will switftly move on if they can’t find what they want to
watch – this is nothing but a lost revenue opportunity.
It is not only just the act of changing the channel or service that is worrying for content providers; our research
also found that almost one quarter of viewers (23%) said finding something good to watch was so important that it
influenced their choice of service provider. This is a clear flag – better search and discovery makes a service more
attractive to customers. Almost half of the sample (49%) said finding something good was somewhat important and,
interestingly, 16% said it wasn’t important how long it took, just as long as they found something good.
When asked about specific search behaviour, consumers said they largely searched via genre 39% — this figure was
particularly high in the US at 47%. Other search methods included using keywords (36% global average and 42% by US
audiences), and names of actors, (20% by US audiences).
It was the 25-34 year-old age group stood out, with more respondents in this category using these methods than any
other age group. The 16-24 year-old category, also showed a higher than average use of these search behaviours.
Demonstrating that the younger generation are more at ease with advancing technologies and techniques.
Less than 10 mins
10 - 20 mins
21 - 30 mins
30 - 60 mins
As long as it takesSo, typically, how long
do viewers search
for something? On
average, they spend
16 minutes searching,
with viewers in the
16-24 age group
spending 20 minutes.
There is little doubt that there
is a world of opportunity for
broadcasters and content providers
to capitalise on when it comes to
creating and distributing quality
content. Demand for ‘good TV’
has never been greater and,
indeed, the demand from viewers
is reaching an all-time high. For
the consumer, however, despite
the ability to consume content on
smartphone, tablet, laptop or TV, the
overriding issue is how to find that
While many may follow the
recommendations of their
content providers or friends,
these suggestions are not always
completely accurate or relevant
to a user’s tastes. Added to that,
audiences are using methods other
than recommendations, namely
search to find something to watch.
For both broadcasters and digital
providers then, the challenge to
deliver accurate and intuitive
search and recommendation results
in order to continue and increase
levels of audience satisfaction
and engagement. This falls to the
ever-growing realm of customer
experience that looks at the issues
of search and discovery, accuracy
of recommendations and more.
A 2015 survey conducted by ROVI
reflected similar findings around
search times, recommendations
and the customer experience —
which demonstrates the beginning
of a pattern of issues and demands
from an audience point of view. For
broadcasters and digital providers,
it is, now more than ever, imperative
that this feedback be heeded,
especially as the wealth of content
and the diversity of providers
continues to increase, intensifying
the race for viewers.
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