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Survey reveals changing ways people watch TV

Although traditional viewing in front of a screen is still the most common single way of consuming television, it is declining against more complex ways of viewing, according to research. 

According to Strategy Analytics, traditional TV viewers remain the largest segment in the TV viewing universe but now only account for about 33 per cent of people online who watch TV.

According to RapidTV News, the analysis dubs such viewers couch potatoes, one of six sub-groups it has identified in the report which reveals the main ways people watch TV today by the degree to which connected devices impact viewing and TV interaction.

Couch potatoes are very focused on TV when watching it and typically never phone or text people about what they’re watching and hardly ever use social media. None of this group uses Twitter trending topics or hashtags on a weekly basis to follow a show they’re watching. In general the survey found that fewer than 18 per cent of people online follow the show they’re watching on TV via Twitter.

The next biggest group was ‘OTTers’, accounting for just over a quarter. This segment is less interested in TV, being the most likely to go 24 hours without watching it. They prefer to watch shows via online or “over-the-top” services. Strategy Analytics found that 95 per cent of OTTers watch a TV show they missed on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

The next key grouping was ‘couch chatterers’ taking up 12 per cent of TV viewers. Similar in habits to couch potatoes they were found to be more than twice as likely than the average person online to phone or text others about what they’re watching on TV. None of this group use Twitter to follow a show they’re watching but people in the group were much more likely to be using another when watching TV than the average viewer.

The remaining 30 per cent of those surveyed were multiscreen users.

Strategy Analytics principal analyst David Mercer said: “The traditional way broadcasters and advertisers have discussed TV audiences for 70 years – by age and gender – is becoming increasingly irrelevant and out-dated. People within a traditional group, say 18-34 year old men, can watch TV in completely different ways so new behaviours are as important as demographics when it comes to planning for all elements within the TV industry, be it content, scheduling and advertising.”

However, RapidTV News reports that Mr Mercer warned broadcasters and advertisers that they needed to learn the intricacies about the relationship between TV and new devices.

“There’s a lot of hype about how Twitter is changing TV viewing but, in reality, only two types of people are remotely engaged with ‘Twitter + TV’. Consequently, strategies heavily focused on this would be a big waste as it’s irrelevant to over 80 per cent of TV viewers,” he added.