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Facebook’s Video Strategy Shows Signs of Success: IHS Markit

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More evidence, if it were needed, that viewing to linear and pay TV services is subsiding while online and social media video consumption is on the march.

News 1In a new report compiled by research analysts at IHS Markit, linear TV viewing in the U.S. declined by 17 minutes in 2018, compounding the 25-minute reduction of the year before.

What’s more, U.S. pay TV subscriptions declined for the fourth consecutive year (3.5 million subscriptions were lost compared with 2017), for a loss of 600,000 pay TV VOD-enabled homes.

At the same time, online viewing increased by nearly 21 minutes, driven largely by SVOD and social media sites.

Indeed, U.S. consumers spend more time watching video on social media than those in major European markets tracked in the report.

This is attributed to the 2018 launch of Facebook Watch and the increasingly video-centric approach of sister platforms Instagram and WhatsApp.

In a finding that will support the case short-form content service Quibi is making to advertisers, mobile devices have become a key area of growth in terms of video consumption, “particularly out of the home, as data plans become more affordable and screen sizes increase,” says Fateha Begum, principal research analyst at IHS Markit. 

“Connected living room devices, however, present new opportunities for social platforms to reach wider audiences particularly as consumer appetite for short-form viewing improves.”

Despite the preference towards OTT video services and cord-cutting, the TV set remains the most important screen in the household for video consumption, the report found.

More than 1.2 billion video-capable devices were actively connected to the internet in 2018, up 50 million from 2017. The majority of this growth was driven by connected living-room devices—connected TVs, set-top boxes (STBs), digital media adapters, games consoles, and Blu-ray players. 

U.S. households have an average of 1.6 connected devices attached to their primary TV set. However, the STB remains the most used device for video access.

Across all the markets studied for this report, including Germany and the UK, total time spent viewing television across platforms showed a decline as consumers increasingly turn to non-linear video instead.

“During previous years, non-linear television viewing was largely additive to traditional linear TV viewing, driving up the total number of minutes watched,” said research analyst Rob Moyser. “However, non-linear now has become an alternative for linear TV for many consumers. As a result, total cross-platform viewing time is returning to levels seen prior to the rise of on-demand viewing.”

Image: In the United States, more than 90 minutes per-person per-day was spent watching video content online.

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