How do media companies respond when a quarter of youngsters identify as ‘OTT-first’ viewers?

One-quarter of 18-24 year-olds in the U.S. and Europe, and 31% of the 25-34 age group, and even 8% of 55-64 year-olds, claim to be ‘OTT-first’ viewers, according to figures produced this year by Ampere Analysis. “These are the people who identify as online-first,” Richard Broughton, Research Director at the UK-based media research and analytics company noted on a recent Videonet webcast about ‘Delivering compelling multiscreen services’.

Older consumers who identify themselves as OTT-first are biased towards broadcast catch-up services, whereas younger viewers with this perception of themselves tend to be watching video via social media more than the average, highlighting the fact that there are different kinds of OTT-first viewer.

Broughton showed a graph that explains how different age groups are consuming television overall and this revealed that if you want to find someone who watches more linear broadcast than on-demand, you need to pick out people in their late-20s and older. Ask people younger than that and they are probably watching more on-demand than linear (in terms of minutes per day). And on-demand viewing now dwarfs DVR playback across nearly all adult age groups, although in the 55-64 age bracket there is only a small gap (still in favour of on-demand).

Broughton was setting the scene for a discussion that focused on how video consumption patterns are changing and what it means for content owners and service providers. He concluded that we can expect more multiscreen viewing in the decades ahead.

Dr. Daniel Hesselbarth, Product Innovations TV & Broadband at Unitymedia Kabel, the German cable operator that is part of Liberty Global, confirmed that his company no longer cares what screen people are using to consume content that it serves into the household. “We have set-top boxes and that is still our main service and I think people will continue to enjoy having a big screen in their household. But consumers will use other displays, like an iPad and iPhone, and some homes will have no TV screen at all,” he said.

Catering for these different viewing patterns is part of the operator challenge, looking ahead. Hesselbarth made it clear that service providers must serve different kinds of customers and customer groups, which requires diverse customer marketing. “We have older customers on our basic cable service and we have competitive broadband with good response times and that speaks to the gaming community,” he offered as examples.

Returning to the multiscreen theme, he emphasized that his company must support whatever viewing behaviour a customer adopts – and at the moment they require it. “This is not just ‘nice-to-have’, it must be there,” Hesselbarth declared. “The decisive question is how you deliver a strong and elegant integrated offer, with the same content and user experience, including discovery tools, on the different screens.”

Matt Smith, Chief Evangelist at Anvato, which provides a multiscreen solution for automating live video capture, editing, publishing and syndication, made it clear that broadcasters and service providers must deliver all the content that sets them apart from rival online services, like local broadcast channels, live news and weather, in the multiscreen environment. “We are seeing data from our customers showing that live local news is important. It is locally curated, it has relevance for people whatever city or region they live in, and it is something people want,” he argued.

Smith says it is economically viable to stream the local services to different screens thanks to dynamic advertising insertion, which means the content owners can sell targeted ads based on local postal codes. “The broadcast community is really starting to embrace this idea. We are seeing uptake,” he reported.


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