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NAB 17: Consumers Prefer Watching Video on Mobile Devices

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In the past year, consumers have developed a strong preference for watching TV shows on mobile devices rather than TV sets, finds a survey by technology services company Accenture. Last year, 55 percent of consumers preferred watching shows on a TV set; this year, only 23 percent do.

That data seems counter to much of the research out now, which shows consumers increasingly turning to the living room—and the biggest screen in the house—when streaming. While those surveys focus on U.S. viewing, Accenture's 2017 Digital Consumer Survey questioned over 26,000 consumers in 26 countries. Globally, viewers show a strong preference for smaller, personal screens: 42 percent want to watch TV shows on a laptop or desktop (up from 32 percent last year) and 13 percent prefer smartphones (up from 10 percent last year).

While 38 percent of viewers preferred to watch sports on a TV set last year, that number is down to 19 percent today.

The shift comes from the degree of personalization streaming providers can now deliver, says Accenture managing director and global lead for digital video Sef Tuma. In less developed countries, viewers are more likely to have a newer phone than a newer connected TV, and so can benefit from content personalization better on mobile devices.

The survey found a decline in TV preference across the globe: In the U.S., the preference for TV viewing fell from 59 percent last year to 25 percent this year; in the U.K., from 56 percent to 25 percent; and in India from 47 percent to 10 percent.

"The work that's been done by some of the leading online platforms in creating  more personal viewing experiences has had an exponential impact on preference for viewing behavior," Tuma notes. As services learn about their customers and offer personalized recommendations, consumers continue to use those platforms which results in the services capturing even more data. "It's a circle that continues to feed itself."

Creating a personalized experience isn't just about delivering targeted recommendations, Tuma emphasizes. It's understanding the times of day viewers enjoy different types of content and even the order in which they view their favorites. It also means connecting consumer experience to different departments—like service centers, operations, and marketing—so they can anticipate problems and not just react to them. When consumers feel they're being taken care of, loyalty increases, he says.

Some of this data is included in Accenture's report "Winning Experiences in the New Video World."

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