Traditional TV Viewing Registers Global Uptick

Everybody time-shifts TV shows and skips commercials, right? Wrong.

A new global TV study says 83% of viewers watch linear TV -- scheduled broadcast TV -- on more than a once-a-week basis, up from 79% in 2012. Watching linear TV was at the same level of 83% in 2011. The study came from Swedish communications company Ericsson’s ConsumerLab unit.

Some of this makes sense, say other analysts: In the U.S., for example, while DVR and time-shifting have grown in homes that have the technology, a DVR machine is still in just under 50% of all U.S. TV homes. Also, much viewing of live broadcast TV shows occurs with sports programming, which appears to have steadily increased.

"Linear TV still has an important role for consumers, and we don't see any decline in frequency of usage,” states Anders Erlandsson, senior researcher at Ericsson ConsumerLab. “For example, as many as 36% of respondents feel that watching live sports is a very important part of their TV habits.”



Other traditional TV scheduling and tuning also continues on a steady trend, such as pay-per-view usage. Around 15% of TV consumers use it at least once a week. A year ago, this usage was 17%; it was also 15% in 2011.

The percentage of people who watch on-demand more than once a week -- streaming, traditional time-shifting TV/video and YouTube -- has also remained fairly constant. It was at 63% in 2013, versus 62% a year ago, and 61% in 2011.

Still, changes are coming -- especially when it comes to so-called “cord-cutting” and “cord-shaving” -- cutting back or eliminating pay TV services from cable, satellite or telco TV-video program services.

An Ericsson survey of nine countries found that 11% had completely eliminated pay TV packages -- up from 7% in 2012. Another 23% have cut back on their pay TV packages -- also higher than the previous year, when the number was 14%.

Those watching via DVD/Blu-Ray discs has steadily dropped -- now at 27%, from 30% a year ago, and 31% in 2011.

Ericsson conducted the research in Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK and the U.S., with results based on 15,000 online interviews and 30 in-home interviews conducted in Sao Paulo, Seoul, Stockholm and New York.

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