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Tuesday, 08 December 2015 12:07

World TV Day focuses on younger viewers

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To mark World Television Day on November 21st, TV organisations from around the world have brought together the latest statistics to reveal how millennials’ relationship with TV looks today. With data from 14 countries – including the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, and France – the insights show how much TV millennials now watch, how it is the dominant form of video in their lives, how important the TV set remains, the huge reach of TV, and their attitudes towards TV advertising.

Young audiences were the focus of this year’s celebration of World Television Day on 21 November – as declared by the United Nations in 1996. On this occasion the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) and EGTA, the Brussels-based association of television and radio sales houses once again/for the third consecutive time joined forces to celebrate this day. 

EBU Director-General Ingrid Deltenre states that today’s anniversary is a timely reminder of the golden age of television we are living in. This year’s theme is key to our industry; we need fresh young talent to work with us and to learn from in order to be even more relevant in the future than we are today. Once again, I am glad to see so many partners joining forces worldwide to celebrate a medium that has managed to stay relevant by reinventing itself in numerous ways.” EGTA President Jan Isenbart says today’s TV is all about choice and ubiquity. “Let’s not forget that it was the established linear TV channels that opened the doors for time-shifted and on-demand viewing. Young viewers have embraced the new opportunities to watch premium video content anytime, anywhere and on any device more enthusiastically than any other target group, without abandoning the central role of the big screen in the living-room. In fact, the vast majority of their total viewing continues to be on the TV set (76% in Germany, for instance***). With almost unlimited options, television has entered a second golden age for content producers, advertisers and viewers alike.”

UN Regional Information Centre Deputy Director Caroline Petit says World Television Day was proclaimed an annual event by the United Nations in 1996 in recognition of the impact television increasingly has on decision-makers. “World Leaders have recently adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They can only be a success if people – especially the youth – know about them. TV has the potential to help sharpen the understanding of the goals and other global topics” Ms Petit said. “TV’s power lies in its ability to reach people by sending strong images and illustrate complex developments.”

Young generation still watches Television

Some new video services, such as Netflix and YouTube, have gained popularity in recent years. The data gathered from different countries shows their popularity among younger generations relative to TV. Still, TV continues to dominate millennials’ media lives.

Although different countries measure and report TV consumption in different ways, what is clear from statistics from across the world is that young people are watching a lot of TV:

  • In the US, 18-24s watch an average of 2 hours, 33 minutes of TV a day, 25-34s watch an average of 3 hours, 50 minutes a day (source: Nielsen, ‘Total Audience Report’, Q2 2015)

  • 15-34s in Ireland watch an average 2 hours, 25 minutes of TV a day.  86 per cent of this is watched live (source: Nielsen, Jan-Oct 2015)

  • 16-34s in the UK watch 2 hours, 23 minutes of linear TV on a TV set a day (source: BARB, H1 2015)

  • 18-34s in Germany watch 2 hours, 21 mins of TV a day (source: AGF/GfK Jan-Oct 2015)

  • In Belgium 12-24s are watching an average of 1 hour, 29 minutes of TV a day, 10 minutes more a day than in 2010 (source: Audimetrie CIM, 2014 vs 2010)

  • Italian 15-34s watch an average of 2 hours, 33 minutes of TV a day (source: Auditel, Nov 2014 – Oct 2015)

  • 18-34s in Canada watch 2 hours, 43 minutes of linear TV a day (source: Numerous, Sept 2014-Aug 2015)

Millennial prefer watching advertisements on TV

The data also shows that Millennials are more favourable towards TV advertising than other forms:

  • 16-24s in the UK find TV advertising more enjoyable, memorable and humorous than any other media. 54 per cent enjoy TV advertising, compared to 16 per cent for social media; 69 per cent say TV advertising makes them laugh, compared to 24 per cent for social; and 73 per cent say TV advertising is memorable, compared to 17 per cent for social media.

  • 65.7 per cent of Italian 18-34s of 18-34s claim they pay attention to TV advertising. They also consider it to be more useful  than the average population.

  • In Canada, 18-34s say they are most likely to pay attention to advertising on TV than other media:  39 per cent picked TV, compared to 12 per cent for Social Networks and 2 per cent for mobile.  They also chose TV as the form of video advertising they are most likely to watch: 64 per cent for TV compared to 7 per cent for phone, 11 per cent for tablet and 16 per cent for. 

A report from Sony also concludes that we watch television for many reasons and one way or another we will still be watching television for many years to come.

Television is facing unprecedented disruptive change. There’s a popular view that the growth of online video means that we will watch less television through traditional channels.

Sony Professional Solutions Europe commissioned the report to provide an independent perspective on our relationship with television. Its author, William Cooper, of the media consultancy informitv, explores what we mean by television and what television means to us.

“We often hear that we want to watch whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want,” says Cooper. “The logical consequence of this is that we’re more likely to be watching alone. Yet as individuals we still value a shared viewing experience. We really want to watch the same programmes as other people, just not always at the same time.”

The report suggests that new ways of watching should be viewed as an opportunity more than a threat. If anything, overall video viewing is likely to increase.

Sony has a long tradition of leading and supporting the television and video industry through transformation and technology innovation. To adapt to changing user expectations, media and communications companies will need new workflows, new distribution models, and a new ways of thinking about the various needs of individual users and viewers.

“It might seem obvious why we watch television but the underlying reasons are much more complex. We need to understand why we watch today to anticipate how this may change and what that means for anyone involved in the media industry,” says Niall Duffy, Head of IT & Workflow Solutions at Sony. “We commissioned this work to invite and inform discussion on how television will evolve in a networked world.”

'Why we watch television' argues that powerful social and psychological factors drive the viewing experience. Understanding how and why people currently choose to watch television will help inform our view of video in the future.

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