TV Brings People Together and Keeps Them Up To Date
In our latest media study, TV Matters, we took TV away from some participants to understand its role in their lives. We asked them to live for 5 days without services from their TV provider – no pay TV or cable packages, no free-to-air broadcast channels, no TV on demand, no TV Everywhere apps and no DVR access. During that time, they were allowed to use SVOD – meaning subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. When those 5 days were up we reversed the exercise, taking away SVOD and allowing them to watch TV services from their provider.
What did we learn when participants could watch TV or SVOD, but not both?
Giving up television from a TV provider is much harder than going without SVOD. While living without SVOD did present a challenge, it was comparatively less difficult for participants.
TV from a provider brings instant gratification to viewers. Removing the pressure to choose what to watch makes for an easy and relaxing entertainment experience. Content selections on SVOD require more time, effort and thought.
SVOD requires more of viewers’ attention than content from a TV provider. It can feel wasteful and pointless to select on-demand content and then not give it full attention. TV is more versatile, allowing viewers to tune in under many different circumstances and scenarios.
It’s harder to stay “current” with SVOD. TV keeps viewers up to date on events and what’s happening in the culture. When used alone, SVOD lacks freshness.
Lacking a schedule, SVOD can’t rally people together. Since its content is available at all times, it’s harder to align viewing with friends and family. As a result, there is less urgency and collective excitement to consume SVOD content.
SVOD viewing is not routine. With binge viewing often happening in spurts, SVOD is a less common part of viewers’ daily watching habits. Content viewing happens in cycles – and those are less consistent on SVOD.