Mobile TV viewing on the up
Staff Reporter | On 18, Sep 2015Reading time: 2 mins
The number of people watching TV on their mobile phones or tablets is on the up, according to new research.
Data from Hub’s annual Finding Input One study shows that among consumers aged between 16 and 64 who watch some TV shows online, more than half now use a tablet to view TV shows (51 per cent), a 15-point jump from last year. More than a third now use a smartphone for TV viewing (37 per cent), up 7 points from 2014.
But the popularity of viewing TV on the go doesn’t mean everyone is now streaming live TV on the small-small screen: people prefer to catch up with things on the move, with only 8 per cent saying it’s essential to be able to watch episodes of scripted shows on a phone or tablet at the same time they air (just an additional 20 per cent consider it very important).
Even live sports is not considered a must-have on mobile devices: 1 in 10 think it’s essential to be able to watch live sports events on tablets and phones.
Even younger viewers still feel that the living room is the place for live TV, with only 11 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds calling live sports on mobile “essential” and 20 per cent calling it “very important”.
At the same time, more online content is being watched on TV sets. 71 per cent say they watch shows from online sources on a TV connected to the internet, 9 points higher than last year.
Smart TVs, in particular, have seen a large increase in popularity, as they become more affordable: in 2015, 39 per cent of those who watch online shows on a TV set use a Smart TV, versus 42 per cent who connect through a game console, the most popular connection device. That gap has closed rapidly since 2013, when consumers were twice as likely to use game consoles than Smart TVs (52 per cent to 25 per cent).
Among younger viewers in the US, contracts are becoming less common: more than half (53 per cent) of 16 to 34 year olds use a device other than a traditional pay-TV set-top box as their default for TV viewing.
“Mobile viewing is still highly situational, and the scenarios that make mobile viewing convenient don’t necessarily align with linear TV schedules,” notes Peter Fondulas, one of the study’s authors.
“For most TV consumers, the big screen is still the main, if not the only, way to watch,” adds Jon Giegengack, co-author of the study. “Inexpensive and easy-to to use peripherals, and especially Smart TVs with a built in connection, remove one of the last logistical barriers between mainstream consumers and online TV sources.”