The ‘C’ word
Streaming and catch-up services are an increasingly important part of TV viewing. Retailers must make sure their customers can explore these on their in-store displays, says Gekko managing director Daniel Todaro
Now, your grandmother may not like it, but connected viewing and content are changing the way we watch entertainment, and changing the shape of traditional broadcasting as we know it.
We, as consumers, like to time-shift our TV viewing. No, not like the famous Quantum Leap, but watching what we want when it’s convenient for us to do so.
In May, 13.7 per cent of all TV was watched time-shifted via a catch-up service, up from 6.9 per cent in 2010. This percentage will most certainly continue to grow as more consumers make use of connected services.
With the increase of streaming options and greater bandwidth from our broadband providers, there are many options for consumers to watch their favourite shows that don’t involve a TV, not forgetting very smart services like Freeview Play and Sky Q.
We love streaming on the go and away from the traditional living room setting, with 32 per cent of total viewing time being done through streaming on a device other than a TV. That’s 11,221,204 hours a week in the UK.
We will stream anything it would seem, with four episodes of EastEnders topping a recent catch-up list. What we seem to avoid watching on catch-up and make an effort with is appointment TV, for example live sporting events, which meant sport did not break the top 50 of time-shifted programming. Rather, sports topped the live streaming list, with consumers looking to watch the match with everyone else rather than catch up later.
On top of live streaming and catch-up services, some smart TVs and streaming devices also give easy access to TV and film streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Quality productions such as Orange is the New Black, which costs nearly $4 million an episode to produce, and House of Cards, costing slightly more at $4.5m, have meant that paying to stream is an acceptable proposition. Netflix will spend $5 billion on programming in 2016 – this is on a par with traditional broadcasters such as Fox Networks, and higher than CBS.
Quality, and the ability to be more risqué, is paying off for the non-traditional content producers. They are new, credible and serious players, mixing up the way we consume drama, and now also factual TV.
With Netflix boasting 81 million subscribers in its quarterly earnings report, it’s easy to understand how connected content and the ability to view via multiple devices is again changing the face of broadcasting and how we consume TV. With the BBC licence coming in at an exceptionally good value, £145.50 a year, it’s a lot of high-quality media on many platforms to even consider it expensive. But, with Netflix averaging £89.88 and Amazon Prime £79 a year, it’s got tough competition from all angles, Government included.
Grandma might be happy with her old terrestrial channels, but many consumers will be looking to access all this amazing content by upgrading to a new smart TV or other connected device. For your store, connected services are the perfect USP to sell these new products – smart TVs are rapidly becoming the base level for the category, much like HD is now. What’s important is reassuring consumers that these services will enhance their viewing experience, not hinder it with difficult-to-use software or hidden charges.
Have a smart TV set up in your store with a live aerial feed and internet connection ready for your staff to demo. Let interested shoppers interact and play with the TV, letting them explore the features and benefits of streaming and catch-up services, demonstrating their ease of use and accessibility to free terrestrial catch up or paid for content. With GfK estimating that over five million 4K TVs will be sold in the UK by the end of 2017, smart TV is complementing UHD in equal measure.
With demand services making up four per cent of TV viewing for all ages, and more than doubling to 8.7 per cent among the same 16 to 24 age group, it’s understandable that Amazon can afford to spend $4m per episode on The Grand Tour, and Netflix’s market capitalisation is now $42.3 billion.
If you aren’t offering streaming devices and content cards like Google Play, you aren’t giving your customers, of all ages, what they want and are potentially missing out on an opportunity to increase your margin.