Presenting data at the Futuresource New Content Horizons event in London yesterday, Futuresource senior market analyst, Jack Wetherill, said that the smart TV led in each of the six markets it had analysed.
Spain led with 49% of Netflix users opting to watch via smart TV, followed by Italy at 42%, the UK at 35%, Germany at 32%, the US at 30% and France at 28%.
Streaming media devices like Google Chromecast were the second-highest favoured option for accessing Netflix in four of the six countries, with PC or laptop viewing proving second most popular in Spain and Italy.
Viewing Netflix via a set-top box did not rank among the top five viewing methods in any of the six markets – apart from France, where it came in fifth place with 8% of viewers saying they liked to view the SVOD service this way.
Despite this, set-top box ownership in Western Europe climbed by 39% between 2012 and 2016 to have a presence in 111 million households, according to Futuresource.
Smart TV ownership climbed by a larger 163% over the four-year period but only appeared in 79 million homes in the region in 2016, while digital media adaptor ownership grew by a massive 458% to appear in 22 million Western European homes.
Wetherill said Futuresource expects 20 million set-top boxes – excluding free-to-air boxes – to be shipped in Western Europe this year, down just 1% year-on-year.
This compares to 19 million smart TVs, up 6% year-on-year, and 13 million digital media adapters, up 16% year-on-year.
“There’s a range of different devices there for consumers to be enjoying OTT content – it’s a complex landscape out there,” said Wetherill.
“We know that the move from broadcast to IP is an irreversible trend, but for some of the reasons I’ve outlined, it will take time to move from a) to b) – in fact many years. The set-top box will remain part of that landscape for some years to come.
“As somebody once described it, and it will no doubt be described again, the set-top box is kind of like the cockroach in a nuclear winter. It will be one of the things that survives this whirlwind of development in content and hardware.”