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European digital audiences are 24×7 and multiscreen – but they have distinct ‘tribes’, study finds

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New findings released today by Brightcove , reveal that more than seven in ten (71%) European consumers see ‘room for improvement’ with their on-demand and live viewing experiences – with more varied (35%), relevant (32%) and easier to find content (22%) cited as the top changes needed.

The report – ‘A New View’ – conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Brightcove questioned more than 4,000 consumers across Europe to find patterns in the way audiences watch digital content today.

The report suggests that more than a third of European viewers now use mobile (33%) and tablet (34%) devices to watch video content, and four in ten (41%) use more than one screen as part of their viewing habits (known as ‘second screening’).

Online video content is now being consumed 24/7. While the evening still dominates (55%), daytime (24%), overnight (15%) and morning (6%) viewing are increasingly popular times of the day for catching up on the latest shows.

Many are realistic about the necessity of ads, with over four in ten respondents saying they expect advertising if content is free. Another 12% reported ‘there’s nothing wrong with ads’ and some even said they enjoyed them.

However, 39% of viewers want ads to be shorter and 31% want to be able to fast-forward through them, suggesting the perception of ads still requires improvement.

The research groups the viewers of tomorrow into four distinct categories or ‘tribes’, characterised by their viewing habits, expectations and preferences.

The Digital Natives, who fall in the Generation Z demographic, are highly connected and like to use multiple devices to view video content, sometimes at the same time. 67% use their mobiles. Of all the tribes, this group are the biggest ‘binge watchers’ at one third (33%) and watch the most online/on-demand video content (or VOD) at 10 hours a week. A third (36%) of this group post on social networks talking about content they’ve seen, most often in the morning.

The millennial generation has grown up in the midst of a technological revolution and are multi-screen junkies. Of all the tribes, this group is most likely to buy products seen in video content. Nearly two thirds (60%) of this group have a tendency to second screen whilst watching video content, and one in twenty use three screens. Of all the groups, this tribe are least loyal to live TV programmes, but most willing (31%) to pay for premium channels.

Telly addicts are a part of the Generation X age group that has a tendency to be highly educated and family orientated. Of all the groups, television was most important to their lives (55%). This group watches less VOD content at seven hours a week and the majority (72%) prefer to do so on their PC or laptop. Over half of this group schedule to watch entertainment, live sport or time-sensitive events like political elections or variety show finals.

Baby Boomers make up most of the Devoted Spectators tribe. This group are the most keen news watchers and will mainly watch programmes at home. Three-quarters (75%) of this group are loyal watchers of their favourite programmes, but watch the least digital video content of all the tribes at just five hours a week. Perhaps surprisingly, a fifth of this group use more than one screen at least some of the time when watching content.

Anil Jain, ‎Senior Vice President & General Manager, Media at Brightcove comments on the study: “Despite all these evolving patterns in viewers’ expectations and preferences for digital television, across the board audiences are looking for relevant, varied and high-quality content that entertains or informs them, across platforms and screens.

“As broadcasters plan for their future, extra care should be taken to marry rich content with optimal delivery, discoverability and relevant advertising in relation to both the content and viewer. The more tailored the content is, the more accepting viewers are to advertising – which in turn helps broadcasters achieve business goals.

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