As the subscriber base of SVoD services continues to grow (9 million subscriptions in the UK, 91 million subscriptions in the US), social video platform YouTube still enjoys the biggest share of viewers in the UK, whilst subscription service Netflix takes the top slot in the US. Across the 10 countries in the research, 46 per cent watched YouTube in the last month, with Netflix at 19 per cent, according to Ampere Analysis.

Multiple devices used in a day for VoD viewing
The research shows how people use multiple devices to watch VoD content, catching up on TV on their smartphone whilst commuting, and later switching to bigger screens on smart TVs or computers. TV screens and computers are still the most popular viewing devices, used by more than three quarters of those who watch VoD in both countries.

In the UK, computers (74 per cent) are the most popular secondary viewing device for those who watch VoD on a TV screen, followed by smartphone (59 per cent) and tablet coming in last (56 per cent). In the US, 82 per cent of people who watch on their TV screen also view on a computer, 68 per cent on a smartphone, and 61 per cent on a tablet.

These results are not being driven by differences in device ownership – the proportion of households with these devices in the UK and the US are similar.

Analysis of the heaviest viewers, those who watch VoD content daily, indicates that viewing on tablets, smartphones and TVs is much more common in the US than it is in the UK.

Nearly 40 per cent of UK and nearly 50 per cent of US internet users watch VoD on a daily basis, with the bulk of viewing focused on the TV screen. Two thirds of daily VoD viewers in the US and UK watch daily on a TV set, either through a smart TV or via devices like Apple TV or Roku.

There are bigger differences across other devices between the two countries. 34 per cent of US daily VoD viewers watch videos every day via their smartphone, compared to 23 per cent in the UK. US daily VoD viewers watch more commonly on their tablet (25 per cent), compared to their UK counterparts (18 per cent).

Looking more closely at those who watch VoD daily specifically on a TV screen in the US, we see that 28 per cent of this group also watch daily on a computer and 27 per cent on a smartphone. At 8 per cent, tablet is the least popular secondary device. By comparison, in the UK 21 per cent of daily TV screen VoD viewers also watch daily on a computer, 16 per cent on a smartphone, and 11 per cent on a tablet. This isn’t the only difference. The daily viewing audience in the UK is also older – one in five are aged 45-54, compared to 13 per cent in the US. With well-programmed free catch up services in the UK, older viewers, who are usually more reluctant to pay for subscriptions, have a proportionally greater choice of free content than in the US.

Daily content choices – Brits rate Sci-Fi and Fantasy top, Americans choose Comedy
Daily viewers in the UK and the US have slightly different preferences when it comes to their favourite genre of content. The top five in the UK are Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Comedy, Crime and Thriller, Action and Adventure, Drama. In the US it is Comedy, Action and Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Horror.

Richard Broughton, Research Director at Ampere Analysis, says: “Although broadcaster-led free online video services are prominent in the UK, exclusive series on subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are driving willingness to pay for content, and over time this will penetrate the older viewer population who have traditionally been reluctant to spend online.”

“Furthermore, despite the fact that people can watch content on a number of devices, it is the larger TV screens that attract the most eyeballs in both markets for video on demand, and that’s even the case for the heaviest viewers – illustrating that despite the growth in app-based viewing on mobile devices, ensuring good quality of experience on connected TV devices and Smart TVs remains crucial.”

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By Expat