This week, Decipher released the latest figures from Mediabug Wave 6, our bi-annual media consumption tracker. The findings paint a clear picture of growth in video on demand (VOD) viewing, particularly amongst older age groups, and fuelled in part by an increased accessibility to get video on demand services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Now TV to the TV screen.
The high value placed on VOD accessibility to TV screens is no state secret, however what is interesting to track is the changing ways in which viewers are choosing to do so. Whilst VOD via Pay TV set top boxes has been around for quite a number of years, it is growth in consumption through ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) devices that has caught our eye. From weighing up Mediabug data with industry news, I think a battle worth watching will be between Smart TV’s and Google Chromecast: two slightly different ways of watching video on demand on your TV. more “Will Chromecast be significant in the UK?”…
Decipher’s latest VOD Audit reveals YouView is now the largest catch-up TV provider in the UK, growing by 24% to offer 2,677 assets. This gives it the lead over Sky by 85 assets with the satellite provider’s catch-up service totaling 2,592 assets, reflecting 11% growth since June. Importantly however, Sky’s claims to having the largest catch-up service still have some grounds: Their service offers far more breadth, giving subscribers access to content from up to 32 channels compared to YouView’s 15.
Looking at total video on demand on services audited in this quarter (which excludes iTunes and Google Play until next quarter), the most on demand is available through Sony’s Playstation Store, accessed via the Playstation 3 games console; the Store offers access to over 24,100 episodes and movies. The Audit places Blinkbox in second (20,800 assets) with Microsoft’s Xbox Video in third place (20,400 assets). more “Decipher’s VOD Audit Q3 2013: YouView now provide more catch-up TV than Sky”…
I recently challenged myself to work-out why I still watch so much ‘live’ TV. I don’t mean news or sport because I can rationalise those genres quite easily. I mean bread and butter programming.
The challenge came about because I was debating just how much more damage all the VOD services and PVRs will do to live TV viewing figures in the long-run. This is important because it is those live viewing figures that contribute the vast bulk of advertising impacts. VOD currently delivers far, fewer impacts per hour of viewing than live TV, so the ‘end game’ for advertising funded TV programming is defined by this question. My guess was that live TV won’t drop more than perhaps 25%, no matter how many VOD and time shifting gadgets like Sky+ launch, but I could not say why. I suspect I’m making the mistake of confusing the technology with the benefits.
VOD and the PVR are the rational way to consume all but the livest of live TV events. So, when VOD has all the content you want and it is available on every screen in the house, why would you want to watch ordinary old broadcast TV at all?
Commercial TV funded by advertising is an astonishingly scalable business. You can look at the richest territories in the world such as the USA and note that when it is fuelled by $70bn in TV advertising, the TV industry can produce a service that occupies 34 hours a week of leisure time for the average adult. Then look at Serbia, with a TV ad spend that is about 1% of the USA and, you guessed it, they keep the average Serbian adult busy 34 hours a week. I know this ignores other revenue like subscription but you get the point. With a business model that scalable you’d have thought the UK TV industry could absorb a reduction in advertising revenue of a few percent without all the talk of the sky falling-in.
There is a rule in life that if something walks like a duck and talks like a duck it must be a duck. It is a good rule, but we have been struggling this week with a slight variation to it. How about if someone really big and important repeatedly tells you something is a duck, and has gone to the trouble of painting the thing to look like a duck, but every time you look at it, it still doesn’t walk or talk like a duck?
The duck in question is the TV version of iPlayer that is available on Virgin cable. The BBC and Virgin have made a great fuss over the fact that ‘iPlayer is now available on Virgin’. But however much we have tried, we can’t make it quack or waddle.
I opened my bank statement the other day to see how much I paid Sky. What I found interesting wasn’t the Sky number, but the line underneath. By some quirk, the direct debit that I pay to TV licencing was listed underneath. I pay just over £11 a month to the BBC for TV and radio. Now, as a middle class middle Englander, I understand how much value I squeeze out of the BBC for that money. I probably use way over the average amount of BBC output, and don’t begrudge it. What I find odd is that the industry still lumps the BBC together with ITV, C4 and Five in our discussions about free to air television.
The BBC is quite clearly not a free to air broadcaster. I pay a subscription every month to access the content and it is quite clearly a Pay-TV operator in terms of the way it is financed. The only differences between the BBC and the other Pay-TV operators are that it is a compulsory subscription and that they have a variety of public service obligations in return.