Scheduled television channels still account for the majority of viewing, despite a substantial increase in online video, particularly short-form material. There are significant differences in viewing between traditional television viewers and those that favour mobile screens. Total video viewing has increased overall and those watching across different screens claim to watch more than others. These are among the findings of the latest research from Ericsson ConsumerLab, based on a self-reported survey of 30,000 broadband users in 24 countries.

The annual research report shows that live viewing of traditional scheduled television made up just under 40% of viewing hours in 2016, compared to over 48% in 2010. Including recorded television, it has declined from 62% to just below 49%. So according to these figures traditional television now accounts for just under half of all viewing.

The greatest gain has not been from online viewing of movies, television series and other long-form programmes, which have increased from under 10% to nearly 15% of viewing, but for short-form clips, which have reportedly risen from 11% to over 21% of all viewing time.

Share of self-reported viewing hours per week, 2010-2016. Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab / informitv analysis.

Interestingly, although the share of television viewing may have declined, total video viewing has increased. Fixed-screen viewing has declined by 2.5 hours a week since 2012, while viewing on handheld devices has apparently increased by 4 hours a week.

The report considers groups of viewers, as either heavy, average or light viewers of traditional television, and those that watch on any screen, those that mainly view online video on computers and those that mostly use the mobile screen for video viewing other than traditional television.

Evolution of viewing groups by year, 2010-2016. Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab / informitv analysis.

The survey shows a steady increase since 2010 in those that view video on screens other than the traditional television. The number of heavy viewers of traditional television that do not watch on other screens has declined from 20% to 14% of those surveyed. The number watching on any screen has correspondingly increased from 15% to 20%, while the number that claim to use a mobile screen for viewing video other than traditional television has increased from 5% to 20%.

There is considerable variation in viewing between these groups. Heavy viewers of traditional television watch mainly on that screen with comparatively little viewing on other devices.

Share of self-reported viewing hours per week, heavy television viewers, 2010-2016. Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab / informitv analysis.

In contrast, those that have embraced viewing on other screens do so far more than on a traditional television, although on average around a fifth of their viewing remains on the big screen.

Share of self-reported viewing hours per week by device, mainly mobile viewers, 2010-2016. Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab / informitv analysis.

While heavy viewers of traditional television watch mainly broadcast and recorded programmes, those that use any screen and are classified as ‘screen shifters’ are reported to watch about the same amount of television but far more video overall. According to this study they watch an average of 62 hours of video a week, or almost nine hours a day, which seems somewhat surprising. The growing group of mainly mobile viewers watch much less traditional television, as one might expect, but less video overall than traditional heavy viewers and less than half as much as those that watch on any screen.

Average video viewing by group in hours per week, 2016. Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab / informitv analysis.

It should be emphasised that this is based on self-reported numbers from an online survey of people aged 16-69 with a broadband internet connection at home that watch television and video at least once a week, in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Breaking down the figures into groups of viewing helps explain the perception of some people that television has been overtaken by other forms of online viewing, while for others tradition television viewing remains the norm.

TV and Media 2016: The evolving role of TV and media in consumers’ everyday lives is based on research by Ericsson ConsumerLab and is available from the Ericsson web site.