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Premium online viewing on the rise

Ericsson ConsumerLabViewers are watching an average of six hours of premium content on the web, up from three hours a year ago, with 65% of that viewing being for TV series and shows, according to Ericsson’s ConsumerLab report.

Unveiling results at MIPCOM, Stella Medlicott, CMO, broadcast and media services, Ericsson UK said that, apart from the key trends of young people switching to online viewing and YouTube, a rise in premium content viewing online was an interesting development.

Forty-five per cent of UK audiences watch BBC Iplayer each week with Netflix in fifth place behind all the pubcaster catch up services.

Medlicott said that Binge viewing is growing, with 87% binge viewing once a week and over 50% binge viewing daily, while only 5% never binge.

Piracy remains an issue, but is reducing, with the number of people sharing pirated content halving between 3011 and 2015.

Finding content remains very difficult, according to the report. Eighty-five per cent find it difficult to find something interesting to watch on TV once a week and 31% experience this difficulty several times a day. Audiences are reverting to habit and familiar processes, defaulting to view familiar content.

One in two said they would be happy giving up personal information to receive recommendations, with half of viewers saying they trusted their providers to handle data responsibly.

Speaking at the same session, Nick North, director of audiences, BBC, said that the UK pubcaster had been forced to move youth programming online because of financial constraints but that it was also determined to develop multiplatform brands. He said the BBC was developing a My BBC programme where people could sign in to find content that is of interest to them.

Susanna Dinnage, EVP and MD, Discovery Networks UK and Ireland, said that Discovery increasingly thinks of itself as a content company rather than as a broadcaster. “The days when the broadcaster was in command and control are over – the viewer is in control, and also the people who create the content,” she said. Dinnage said that Discovery is looking at OTT opportunities with various potential partners. This is the rational behind Discovery’s Dplay service.

Both North And Dinnage said catch-up viewing is still a major or the major reason for people to view content online.

Sam Toles, VP, content strategy and business development at Vimeo, said that people are annoyed by online advertising. It also had an impact on the kind of content that could be shown, as on broadcast TV. He said that the split between the content creator and the audience was being reduced with the rise in online viewing. “How kids engage with content is different. They feel they have a personal relationship with their audience. Vimeo as a programmer is reaching into the community to find creators of premium content.|” he said that people are willing to pay for premium content. “People will pay…because they feel there is a direct relationship with the creator,” he said.