Viewing on demand – pros and cons from a consumer point of view July 13, 2015

Viewing on demand – pros and cons from a consumer point of view

Times are changing. Viewers have always had a choice in what to watch on TV, and it’s recently got a whole lot bigger. Choosing what to watch no longer has to be a case of flicking through the few available channels to see what’s on. You can watch TV anywhere, all day, all night, out and about, whatever you like, whenever you like.

With this in mind, we asked our panel how they watched TV now, and what they liked/disliked about the change. The results are interesting in that it’s not all advantages in the eye of the consumer – there are some disadvantages too.

Firstly the advantages. This is not new news, but avoiding the ads is the big appeal of viewing on demand. In fact, many pre-record what they want to watch for the sole reason of avoiding the ads, rather than because they want to watch it at a more convenient time. Other advantages of TV on demand and on the move include being able to entertain children on long trips, downloading content to watch while away from home, ‘binge watching’ TV shows all in one go and not having to wait until the next one, and catching up on missed shows.

And then there are the disadvantages to viewing on demand. Well, what used to be free to the consumer now comes with a cost. Much of the content that viewers want to see is paid for, for example if bought through iTunes, and if it’s not, it’s still not free for many in that it uses up data allowance. In addition to this, it is clear that people on the whole don’t want to watch TV on anything other than a TV. Ipads and smart phones are generally considered too small, and spoil the viewing experience. As one panel member said – “we have just ditched all of our small screen TVs, why would we want to start watching on those devices!”. Another said “I don’t see the point in buying a large flat screen, then watching on a 10in tablet or 3in phone!”. Obviously there are the options of hooking devices up to the TV, and as many are converting to Smart TVs, this won’t be so much of an issue in the future, however the key thing is that it is the ability to watch what they want rather than where they want that is appealing.

There is a commitment to conventional TV watching at home. TV watching is associated with relaxation time – a reward at the end of the day and this is not changing. It is the content on demand, not the ability to view on demand which primarily attracts the viewer. Smaller devices interfere with the TV viewing experience and are not a threat to the TV. They are used primarily for catching up on missed shows, but as soon as this is done, viewers move back to the TV again. The TV will always be in demand, whether or not its content is on demand.

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