tablet videoPeople around the world are watching nearly as much streaming video as traditional broadcast TV programming, with  the desire for “Anywhere Access” fueling the rise. In just two years, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of consumers willing to pay to access content on any device, according to the latest annual edition of the “Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report.”

Interviewing more than 23,000 people in 23 countries, market researchers found that 75 percent of consumers watched streaming video several times a week. That’s nearly equal to those watching scheduled broadcast TV programming several times a week (77 percent).

Willingness to Pay for TV Everywhere
Nearly one in five (19 percent) are willing to pay for access to their favorite content on any device, an increase of 25 percent in two years. Wider availability of streaming video content is also spurring more “binge viewing,” in which viewers watch multiple episodes of a TV show back-to-back.

“The results,” Ericsson ConsumerLab commented in a press release, “show that a shift in user behavior continues to drive change in the TV and media industries, prompting a move away from old formats and business models and ushering in an era of high-quality, on-demand entertainment.”

Ericsson ConsumerLab also found people are spending more time watching content on smartphones and tablets, and that’s changing the way they view and make use of broadcast and pay-TV. DVRs are also leading viewers to do more in the way of binge-viewing.

As the report authors highlight, “[T]raditional broadcast and Pay TV channels are seen by many as ‘content repositories’ from which consumers cherry-pick individual pieces of content for later viewing, using their digital video recorder (DVR).”

S-VOD Impact
With ongoing growth in the number of subscription-based video-on-demand (S-VOD) service subscribers, 48 percent said they would like to see S-VOD providers such as Netflix and Hulu make all episodes of a TV series available at once so that they could pick and choose when, as well as which, episodes to watch when they want.

“Our research shows that 56 percent of those who pay for subscription-based video on demand services prefer all episodes of a TV series to be available at once, so they can watch at their own pace, compared with 45 percent for those who don’t pay for S-VOD,” Ericsson ConsumerLab Senior Advisor Niklas Heyman Ronnblom, commented. “This shows the impact that such services have on consumer viewing behavior and requirements.”

“There are different ways to binge watch: some viewers do not discover a TV series until mid-season, so they will watch many episodes one after the other to catch up before the season is over,” Heyman Ronnblom added. “Others prefer to watch an entire season at their own pace, which means they have to wait until the entire season is available.”

Forty-one percent of consumers said they would like to be able to watch their favorite TV shows anywhere. Two barriers are preventing them, according to Ericsson ConsumerLab’s study: the cost of data traffic and the cost of content. Responses suggested that the quality of the streaming experience also influenced viewers: 43 percent said that Ultra High Definition (UHD) was important to them.

“The results of the study are clear,” Heyman Ronnblom stated. “[M]edia companies need to rethink how they create and release content, while the focus for TV service providers is on delivering the highest possible quality for viewers, no matter what device they are watching on. The landscape is changing rapidly, and business and delivery models will have to keep up with that pace of change if they are to continue to deliver perceived value to consumers.”

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