The Media Challenge:
Traditional vs. On-Demand

The research conducted by BVA Doxa presented during the conference “Internet advertising overcomes the TV collection and drives the recovery” of the Internet Media Observatory promoted by the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano provides a picture of the situation of the Italian media market. While on one hand the stream of content from traditional TV remains high, on the other hand the growth of on-demand platforms continues, especially among the younger generations who, however, are also starting to drive Baby Boomers. Owning “smart” devices that can be accessed to expand the range of possibilities offered is also increasing.

As part of the Conference of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, data relating to the Italian advertising market, internet advertising and sales of media content were presented. The point of view of the consumer and his habits in terms of use of content and use of platforms and “smart” technologies is the focus of the research “The Media Challenge: between linear and on-demand use” conducted by BVA Doxa and presented during the Conference.

TIME DEDICATED TO ENTERTAINMENT ACTIVITIES – For more than a year now, we have been in a complicated historical period for citizens and consumers who, as already noted by previous surveys, have begun to devote much more time to devices and platforms that offer entertainment content. Likewise, players also continue to grow and diversify in an ever-changing scenario that is worth monitoring.

During the previous survey, which ended at the end of the first and more rigid lockdown, an increase in the time of use of both entertainment videos (such as films, TV series, social networks) and television was already detected, but also of the press (especially for the need to stay updated on the progress of the pandemic). This year’s research, after a less rigid and above all diversified lockdown between regions, confirms that the time dedicated to entertainment remains high (35% say they have dedicated more time to videos, 50% to television, in the period that runs from November 2020 to spring 2021), against a slight decline in the press.

If we look at the time dedicated to different television contents (programs, films, TV series) compared to non-television (Social, YouTube, Influencer …), we find interesting data especially at the generational level: if the time dedicated to TV is much higher among Baby Boomers (on average, 20 hours a week, compared to 15 for Generation X and 10 for Millennials), non-television content is transversal and homogeneous, with Millennials dedicating an average of 7 hours a week to it and Baby Boomers they dedicate 6 of them to it.

MANY POSSIBILITIES, MANY CHOICES – As already anticipated in the previous survey, the growth of the SVOD is confirmed: both subscribers to at least one platform and those who have access increase, perhaps by sharing a subscription or because they are part of another offer. The increase in access to SVOD platforms goes hand in hand with a slight decline in streaming, but if the use of streaming is transversal between generations, it is the SVOD that segments the most: subscribers among Millennials are + 17% compared to subscribers among Baby Boomers.

SVOD SUBSCRIPTIONS – Access to SVOD platforms should not be underestimated if we consider that subscriptions are increasingly shared: that it is paid for by a single consumer, or that the expense is shared or that a subscription is signed for use in the family by several people, 1 in 3 shares the SVOD subscription. But those who are subscribers also expect to remain subscribers in the future: 55% and 31% respectively declare that they surely or probably will remain subscribers, with an even higher percentage among Baby Boomers (+ 7%) who wish to be able to access a ‘ever-widening offer of contents.

Those who subscribe to at least one SVOD platform are also very likely to have more than one subscription at the same time and the figure is stable compared to last year: 43% declare they have two, 20% say they have three, and 10% four or more. Among those who subscribe to a Pay TV service, on the other hand, the share of those who claim to have only one subscription has decreased compared to last year, an indication of the need to expand their pay TV offer by signing up for other subscriptions.

THE CONTENT – Most prefer to choose the program to watch looking for specific content regardless of where it is broadcasted, rather than being guided by traditional TV and therefore by a more linear use of content. But what drives the choice of content? 39% rely on the TV promo of the program, film, TV series, and this seems to be the most common choice among all generations, even if 37% of Baby Boomers admit that they have no particular preferences on how to choose (often, rely on zapping), while “less formal” initiatives such as campaigns, social media content (13%, + 6% of the total), and word of mouth (21%, + 7% compared to total).

As for the contents, the most consumed ones are also the same ones on which all the main SVODs on the market are investing the most: international TV series (46%), older films (42%) and newly released films (32%) lead the ranking, but the most segmenting contents are also interesting, such as cartoons and animated films (20%) or comedy programs (20%).

YOUTUBE AND TYPE OF VIDEOS WATCHED – Among the most watched contents on YouTube, music videos, video tutorials, and comic videos with interesting generational differences emerge: Millennials are especially interested in the more formative video tutorials, while Baby Boomers use YouTube more for music videos, sports, highlights of events and film clips. Baby Boomers are also, again, those who do not have a precise preference on the type of video to watch on YouTube (61% “indifferent”), while Millennials especially prefer videos from YouTubers and Influencers (44%, + 17% compared to the total) and Generation X user-generated contents (23%, + 7% compared to the total).

DIFFERENT DEVICES AND THE “SMART” GROWTH – This year too, the growth in ownership of smart TV is reconfirmed, which does not always completely replace traditional TV, but in 25% of cases it supports it: 1 in 4 has both a traditional TV and a “smart” TV. But it is also important to consider the possibilities of making a traditional TV “connected” through external devices: the share of those who manage to connect their TV, either because they own it smart or because they connect it through devices, rises to 61%. The smart TV, however, although the range of possibilities of use is wide, is used above all to access on-demand platforms, indeed, not all those who own it use its smart functions (40% have smart TVs and says to log into his online services).

The smart speaker grows even faster than the smart TV: it grows by + 6% compared to the previous year. Compared to the smart TV, the smart speaker has slightly richer functions and is used above all to listen to music (63%), inquire about the time (61%), ask for something (62%), but also for the radio ( 59%), use of timer or alarm clock (55%). The podcast is also interesting: besides the fact that the time dedicated to podcasts in general increases compared to last year, it also emerges that 29% of smart speaker owners use the device to listen to them, also confirming the constant growth of audio, an area that is still relevant for companies and brands that look at different worlds to entertain users.

In a media contest that becomes complicated and that challenges brands, broadcasters and publishers to develop new methods of contact and relationship, the consumer encounters an increasingly rich, heterogeneous and multi-channel content offer – said Antonio Filoni, Partner and Head of Innovation and Digital of BVA DoxaWe are still looking for “normality” that has not yet stabilized and the war of attention will be the protagonist of the next months/ years, where new players will appear (the Telco) and strategies global will have to adapt to local strategies “.



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