Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Pt. III

Following on from several previous pieces on this blog (Part I and Part II), some very interesting headlines from this year's annual OfCom Communications Report. Apologies for the lengthiness of this piece but it's way shorter than the full report, which can be downloaded here.

There is a plethora of great information in the OfCom report and the content is far too rich to cover the whole report but this blog is interested in the following hypothesis:

- People are still watching television, but they're not really watching it.
- People are increasingly media-multitasking, meaning that whilst the quantity of TV viewing continues to be strong, the quality of engagement is getting poorer.
- The "as live" experience is less important.
- All of these phenomena are markedly exaggerated the younger the audience.

So, (as regular readers know) this blog's argument is that sport & entertainment cannot continue to assume it is going remain appointment viewing (neither as a live experience nor live on television). I don't think we have a coherent plan as an industry for extending the "experience" beyond game time; I don't think we have any idea about the importance of second screens; and I doubt we have much of a clue about what choices the Millennials are going to be making as they grow up. All I do know is that the landscape is going to be hugely different in ten years' time and we all need to start thinking about it, and fast.

Have a look at these stats and make up your own mind about whether the above hypothesis holds any water:

- TV viewing has remained resilient over time, although there has been a decline since 2010 for younger age groups. Between 2010 and 2012 there was very little change, either at the overall level or among older groups. However, younger people’s viewing decreased during this period, with viewing among 16-24s decreasing from 169 minutes in 2010 to 157 in 2012. Between 2012 and 2013, there was an overall decrease in viewing. Viewing among all individuals (4+) went down from 241 to 232 minutes, and among 16-24s from 157 to 148 minutes. 

- Between 2010 and 2012 there was very little change, either at the overall level or among older groups. However, younger people’s viewing decreased during this period, with viewing among 16-24s decreasing from 169 minutes in 2010 to 157 in 2012.  Between 2012 and 2013, there was an overall decrease in viewing. Viewing among all individuals (4+) went down from 241 to 232 minutes, and among 16-24s from 157 to 148 minutes.

- Live TV accounts for half of the time younger people spend on ‘watching’ activities compared to 69% among all adults. Live TV is followed by just under a fifth (16%) of ‘watching’ time spent on recorded television among UK adults as a whole. In comparison, among 16-24s, only half (50%) of their time spent on ‘watching’ activities is accounted for by live TV.

- A fifth (21%) of their viewing time is spent consuming online content; 13% consuming downloaded/ streamed content and 8% watching short online video clips – a significantly greater proportion than for any other age group.

- Considering all of the time spent on watching activities across a week among 12-15 year olds, just over half (52%) is to live television, compared to 69% for all adults. However, this age group spends a significantly greater proportion of its viewing time than all adults (19% vs. 2%) watching short online video clips.

- Media multi-tasking is undertaken by almost every person. Almost every adult (99%) recorded conducting two or more media activities at the same time at some point during the week.

- However, young people spend as much time on text communications as watching TV or films on a TV set. Among all adults, 37% of total time spent on media and communications activities is attributed to watching TV or films on a television set. However, only a quarter (24%) of the media and communications activity of an average 16-24 year-old is spent doing this, compared to half (49%) for those aged 65 and older. The pattern switches for text communications; for 16-24 year olds, 23% of their media time is spent engaged in this form of activity (such as texting or communicating via social networks) compared to 7% for those aged 65.

- Smartphones are ranked third in terms of time spent on devices across a typical day, after TV and desktops/ laptops. However, their central role in consumers’ lives is particularly evident among those aged 16-24; a quarter of all communications and media time spent by this age group is spent on a mobile phone and 77% of the time they spend on social media is on a mobile phone. The device that shows the largest difference in terms of daily use by age among adults is the smartphone with 16-24 year olds spending over three and a half hours on this device each day (216 mins) versus 82 mins for UK adults.

If the above was too dry, have a looked as these selected charts:


Unsurprisingly, the Millenials (or Google's Gen C (see last blog)) are the most digital-savvy. The below chart is more interesting: of the top ten activities that would be "missed", the live experience - whilst most important to the oldest age category - doesn't even figure in the top ten of the 16-24 year olds.
The next chart is also unsurprising. Over the past 11 years, the technology most rapidly adopted is the smartphone, followed by the tablet.


However, what is really interesting is the disparity between what the 16-24 year olds are doing with the tablets and smartphones whilst watching TV. The younger the viewer, the less engaged they are with the live content.

 

Lastly, if we still don't believe youngsters are interested in watching either "live" TV or consuming it in the way it's traditionally packaged, have a look at the last two charts: