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Study: Three-Quarters of Viewers Record TV Programming to Skip Ads

19 Mar, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Motorola Mobility study finds that more than 40% of recorded content is never watched

People around the world are watching more television than ever — an average of 25 hours of shows and movies a week. Film viewing has risen from five to six hours, while weekly TV consumption is up 90% this year to 19 hours, according to Motorola Mobility's Fourth Annual Media Engagement Barometer.

Nearly a third (29%) of weekly TV viewing is recorded content, while another third of recorded content is never watched. The latter metric is more acute in the United States, where 41% of recorded content is never watched and deleted.

Live TV viewing still dominates — particularly with news — which is watched by 73% of respondents as it airs. DVR owners tend to watch an average of one hour more content a week, while a third (36%) of all content recorded is never actually viewed.

Meanwhile, the living room remains the epicenter of the home entertainment experience, but the multiscreen home is also a reality. Consumers want to be able to move content between devices more easily; 76% said they would be interested in a service that automatically loaded content they approved of to their mobile phone or tablet, according to the study.

Motorola’s report is based on results from a global study of video consumption habits among 9,500 consumers in 17 countries.

The study found that the U.S. has the highest weekly TV consumption at 23 hours of TV and six hours of movies watched, while Sweden and Japan have the lowest at 15 hours and two hours, respectively.

Consumers are also taking advantage of the ability to watch the content they like in multiple rooms throughout the home, even in unexpected places.

About 50% of respondents watch broadcast TV in the living room, led by Sweden (81%), the United Kingdom (75%) and Australia (68%). Meanwhile, another 36% of respondents watch broadcast TV in the master bedroom, and countries with above-average consumption in the bedroom include Argentina (62%), the U.S. (54%) and Russia (49%).

Smartphones and tablets are driving most multi-room content behaviors — they are watched more than broadcast TV in the bedroom (46% and 41% versus 36%). These portable devices are also used in less-conventional rooms; 10% of tablets are used in the kitchen.

Indeed, tablet users could be described as having enormous appetites for video content, watching more content than non-tablet users. On average, tablet owners watch 6.7 hours of movies a week versus the average of 5.5 of non-tablet owners.

Tablet users are more likely than non-tablet owners to use a multichannel video program distributor’s TV Everywhere platform (47% versus 31%). Eighty percent of a tablet user's content is recorded, versus 65% among non-tablet owners, according to the study.

More than 77% said they record because there is other content airing at the same time, which the viewer would prefer to watch live. 72% are hoarders — recording to collect the box-set; 68% globally record programming to skip ads, a percentage that rises to 75% and 74%, respectively, in the U.K. and U.S.

Motorola, which uses the study to drive marketing of its mobility services, said 68% of respondents have deleted content because they ran out of storage room on their set-tob box device. Seventy-nine percent say this has caused frustration, with women more often frustrated than men by needing to remove recordings they have stored (26% versus 23%).

“Consumers want to be in control of the way they experience their videos,” John Burke , SVP and GM of converged solutions at Motorola Mobility, said in a statement. “Increasingly, they're using tablets and smartphones to view [and control] content, and they expect this experience to transition seamlessly across their favorite programs, whenever and wherever they like.”

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