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Second screen is where content creators will succeed or fail: Accenture

Viewership of movies and other long-form video content on a television screen dropped 13 percent over the past year while mobile is increasingly the go-to choice for consuming entertainment content, presenting a host of challenges and opportunities for companies, according to a new report from Accenture. 

The report, ?Digital Video and the Connect Consumer,? reveals that the TV was the only consumption channel to experience uniform, double-digit usage declines worldwide among viewers across a wide range of ages. With improved streaming on mobile devices as well as longer battery lives, smartphones, tablets, phablets and laptops are now a viewing staple. 

?TV?s undisputed popularity as the go-to entertainment device is ending as viewers shift their allegiance to mobile devices like smartphones to tablets,? said Gavin Mann, global broadcast industry lead at Accenture.

?Multi-screen usage is now a fact of life, putting the onus on media companies to find new and innovative ways to cater to this multi-screen experience,? he said. 
?Consumers still trust established brands over more newer, digital entrants who would most closely be identified with the mobile experience like Apple or NetFlix. Traditional broadcasters do not have an inherent disadvantage but they need to make a move now to shore up their mobile position before it is too late.?

Simultaneous viewing
The report found that viewing is happening simultaneously across multiple devices, with 87 percent of consumers using more than one device at a time. 

Globally, the smartphone is the most frequent companion device, used by 57 percent of consumers overall. 

The trend is particularly strong for millennials, with 74 percent of 14-to-17-year-olds using a combination of TV and smartphones during viewing. 

One exception is North America, where 59 percent used a laptop/computer for simultaneous viewing compared to 42 percent for smartphones. 

The numbers point to the need for content creators, broadcasters and programmers as well as advertisers to understand consumers? viewing habits. Those able to effectively leverage consumer insights to inform decisions related to content, converged operating models and exploiting data will be the future leaders in media and entertainment. 

Quality an issue
?The report found that 37 percent of consumers own a combination of smartphones, laptops/desktops, and tablets. Among those who plan to buy a TV, 61 percent expect to buy a connected TV, and 25 percent are planning to buy a 4K TV, up seven percent from last year. 

As online content consumption grows, the quality of online service is becoming a growing concern. 
According to Accenture?s analysis, 89 percent of consumers watch long form video on connected devices, but many report issues with their viewing experience. 

Poor Internet service, the primary complaint, was named by 51 percent of respondents.  Too much advertising placement was cited by 42 percent while 33 percent pointed to buffering, 32 percent to loss of sound or distortions during play. 

Respondents also said they would pay for online video service if it included greater content variety, less advertising and better video quality. 

While TV viewership is declining, consumers still prefer traditional broadcasters over newer entrants into the content delivery space. Specifically, Apple, Netflix and Google scored significantly lower than traditional broadcasters when consumers were asked about from whom they would like to receive Pay TV or Video on Demand. 

Opportunity knocks
The findings suggest traditional broadcasters need to move quickly to capitalize on the TV everywhere trend. Accenture suggests they invest in multi-device platforms and secure partnerships that leverage their footprint into the mobile space. 

For example, Accenture announced last week that it is helping STAR India develop and over-the-top service offering television programming to mobile devices and streaming viewers. The advertising-supported business model promises to be the largest deployment of its kind by supporting more than 7,000 different digital devices through Wi-Fi, 4G, 3G and 2G networks. 

Now that consumers can easily fulfill their desire to watch video anytime, anywhere from a mobile device, this is accelerating the decline of traditional TV viewing. 

In the United States, viewership for long form video content declined 11 percent over the past year. 
The trend is extending to viewership for sports content as well, which was down 10 percent globally on TV and 9 percent in the U.S. 

While the abandonment of TV is happening across age groups, the trend is most pronounced among 14-to-17-year olds, with a 33 percent drop for movies and TV shows and a 26 percent drop for sports. 
Among 18-to-34-year-olds, there was a 14 percent drop in TV viewership for movies and TV shows and 12 percent for sporting events. 

For 35-to-54-year-olds, the drop was 11 percent and nine percent, respectively. 
The rate is more flat among the 55 and older crowd, with a drop of six percent for movies and one percent for sports. 
?Broadcasters and advertisers need to start investing aggressively in multi-device platforms,? Mr. Mann said. ?They need to produce customized content that is unique and special to the multiscreen experience. 

?Simply repacking the same content available over-the-air will not speak to the audience they are trying to reach,? he said. ?They need to focus on quality of service and provide features that best leverage the mobile experience.?

Final Take?
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York