South Africa: New era of TV consumption

Broadcast

Viewership of linear TV is growing strong every year with traditional TV channels dominating online TV viewing, according to a study conducted across 10 countries in the Central Eastern Europe Middle East Africa (CEEMEA) region by Discovery Networks in co-operation with The Future Foundation. 

The report surveyed 5,000 TV viewers across Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and UAE in addition to in-depth interviews with an expert, industry panel.

In the study, which was revealed to South African media on 13 November in Johannesburg, Discovery Networks International's John Honeycutt is quoted as saying:‚"Due to technology constraints, we are still a long way from connected devices being preferential to traditional linear channels across large parts of the world".

As per the study, recent statistics from UK regulator OFCOM's International Communications Market report show how TV viewing per person is rising in many countries'"The television set will continue to innovate and up its game in response to smaller screens to maintain this central place which it is uniquely positioned to enjoy," it states.

The Discovery study stresses that ‚"the TV set is not going to be expelled from the front rooms of CEEMEA viewers in favour of small screens and the broadcast schedule will not be abandoned in favour of online engagement. Instead there is a revolution in how viewers will engage with content and a glimpse in a future of more personalised, tailored access to programming."

The Internet and social media are not disruptive influences to TV, according to the study, rather they can help stimulate greater engagement with TV. ‚ Many early adopters in CEEMEA already engage in media meshing ‚ using a second medium alongside the first to improve their enjoyment of a TV show. This can be leveraged both by live event TV, which invites a social media overlay and by high quality, high attention TV that can engage the viewer online after the TV experience.‚

Other findings of the study include:

The vast majority in CEEMEA watch most of their TV as it is broadcast "but there is palpable demand for off-schedule programming, allowing viewers to watch what they want when they want, rather than adhering to a broadcast schedule. Technological advances will boost the development of this trend.

Choice management is a growing concern, with the result that many find it difficult to choose what to watch. 

There is interest in a TV maximising service to recommend TV shows to viewers based on their preferences and TV viewing history. Sixty-six percent of the South Africans surveyed would be interested in a device or service that could automatically record TV shows that might be of interest.

There is scope for media snacking ‚"bite-sized content and potential exists for some new kinds of short-form content to sit alongside long-form.

At present many in CEEMEA watch TV online but it is the younger generation who are really starting to move away from the broadcast schedule and make use of on-demand TV viewing habits.

In some CEEMEA markets there is a lot of interest in a device / service that allows you to access TV content wherever you are. Sixty-one percent in South Africa are interested in this. 

Portable devices could help TV content fill moments of what used to be dead time for viewers. This is the trend of Smart Boredom – using smartphones, tablets and other devices to fill moments when we used to be bored.

Mobile devices / second screens will encourage new approaches to consuming TV content. They will enable two typologies of TV viewing in particular: the tourist and the enthusiast.

Peer-to-peer and expert recommendation, reviews and social and cultural capital have all come to the forefront of the connected generation, giving rise to an increase in Social TV.