TV Everywhere started out as a convenience for pay TV customers, allowing them to watch their favorite shows when they weren’t near their operator’s set-top box. New data shows many subscribers prefer the app experience even on their TVs.
TV Everywhere deepens penetration
The latest Adobe Digital Insights shows that TV Everywhere continues to make steady progress among pay TV subscribers. 20.4% accessed authenticated services at least once a month during Q4 of 2016. This is up from 17.4% in Q4 2015. This represents good, though not spectacular growth. Over the same period, the number of consumers that say they use SVOD services each month increased from 8.4% to reach 63.4%.
We might have expected TV Everywhere to have done better. Most SVOD users are also pay TV customers, and must pay extra for their favorite online video service. TV Everywhere services are a free benefit of a pay TV subscription.
Connected TVs rise in importance
The initial objective of TV Everywhere was to give pay TV customers access to all their subscribed TV content on the other screens in their lives. For the last several years, mobile use of video has driven growth in TVE usage, validating the intent of the TVE strategy. Not so anymore.
Adobe reports that mobile share of TVE video starts fell below the 50% level for the first time in over two years. Meanwhile, TV connected device (TVCD) usage increased to 32%, up from 20% in Q4 2014. TV connected video starts are now higher than PC browser accesses by 10%.
This data seems to suggest that many of the TVE users prefer the online experience. Since all the video content they are watching on TVCDs in authenticated apps is also available through the operator set-top box, clearly online access is more compelling.
Apple falls out of TVE favor
Since TVE’s introduction, Apple devices have been the preferred way for consumers to watch. Even as recently as Q4 2015, the average TVE iOS user started 9.2 videos per month, versus 8.0 for Android. Just one year later, iOS video starts have fallen 15% to 7.8 while Android has gained 8% to reach 8.6.
This suggests that the overall decline in mobile usage comes almost entirely at the expense of Apple users. According to comScore, the smartphone OS share of the market has stayed almost the same over the last 2 years, with Android leading iOS by about 10%. Perhaps it is the decline in popularity of the tablet, a category dominated by Apple, over the last two years that is primarily responsible for the drop in mobile video share of TVE usage.
Why it matters
Though TV Everywhere access to content is a free benefit of a pay TV subscription, usage is not growing as fast as paid SVOD services.
TV Everywhere users can watch their favorite content through apps or operator set-top boxes. Many prefer to watch through apps.
iPhone and iPads are falling out of favor with TVE users, as the emphasis switches to Android and TV connected devices.