Despite the widening availability of TV Everywhere style services from operators and television networks, tablet users in America appear to prefer standalone subscription services like Netflix. Only 23% of tablet users surveyed ever use a TV operator app, according to recent research, while over 40% said they use a standalone video service at least once a month. Meanwhile phones and tablets now account for almost half of all usage of the BBC iPlayer in Britain.
The Diffusion Group surveyed 1,500 adult broadband users in the United States and of over 900 that used a tablet, only 23% had used a television service provider specific app in the previous 12 months. Only 31% had used a cable channel app and 37% had used a broadcast network app. In comparison, 48% had used an app for a standalone video service such as Netflix, which has over 35 million subscribers to its streaming video service in the United States.
Only 1% of respondents reported using a television service provider app on a daily basis, with 6% saying that they used one at least once a week and 10% saying that they used one at least once a month. However 10% of those surveyed said they used a standalone video service at least once a day, with 41% using one at least once a month.
“Some 60% of adult broadband users now own a tablet such as iPad or Kindle Fire,” notes Michael Greeson, the president and director of research for TDG. “These portable platforms are rapidly becoming second televisions in the home.” Yet he warns “TV operators thus have their work cut out for them if they expect to keep tablet video viewers within their branded content corral.”
In comparison, the Adobe Digital Index suggests that only 21% of pay-television households in the United States use TV Everywhere services from television service providers or networks. Of those 43% are from Apple iOS devices and a further 15% are from Android apps. That amounts to 12% of pay-television homes.
Across the Atlantic, tablets accounted for more requests to the BBC iPlayer than computers for the first time. Phones and tablets together contributed almost half of all requests.
Tablets accounted for 30% of video requests to the BBC iPlayer, while phones made up a further 18%. Requests from computers accounted for 28% of requests, down from 39% a year previously, when they represented more than requests from tablets and phones combined.
With just over 200 million total video requests in April, which is fewer than over the winter months, it means 90 million a month are from phones and tablets.
The most popular programme is generally EastEnders, which receives up to almost 1.5 million requests for an episode. With the serial drama only reaching up to 7 million viewers an episode, compared to 12 million a decade ago, online viewers now represent a significant proportion of the total audience and tablet viewing accounts for a significant proportion of that.
The TDG Benchmarking the Connected Consumer research is based on an online survey of 1,500 adult broadband users in the United States. The US Digital Video Benchmark is published by Adobe Digital Index on its CMO web site. The BBC iPlayer figures are for April 2014 as reported in its monthly performance pack.