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01 May 2017

The End of Television

The place of television at the centre of the family home is being threatened, as more and more people favour personal digital devices over the communal nature of TV. According to a new study by Accenture, there has been a steep decline in the popularity of TV over the last few years, with Australians ahead of the curve when it comes to new viewing habits. With Internet speeds growing across the world and online services such as Netflix getting more popular all the time, traditional TV networks are starting to feel the pinch. 

The Accenture 2017 Digital Consumer Survey shows a dramatic dive in the popularity of television, with Accenture global managing director of broadcast Gavin Mann saying “the dominance of the TV set as the undisputed go-to entertainment device is ending.” The study polled 26,000 people in 26 countries across the world, with people who prefer watching shows on a television dramatically plummeting from 52 percent last year to just 23 percent this year. India saw the biggest shift in viewing habits, from 47 percent down to 10 percent. In the United States, the number fell from 59 percent to 25 percent, with U.K. figures dropping from 56 percent to 25 percent and Australia dropping to 20 percent.

Since 2014, the percentage of people who listed TV as their favourite viewing device has dropped from 65 percent to just 23 percent, with 42 percent of people listing computers and laptops as their preferred devices for watching television shows and 13 percent listing smartphones. More than four in 10 consumers, or 42 percent, said they would rather view TV shows on a laptop or desktop, up from 32 percent in last year’s survey. In a surprising statistic, only 19 percent of survey respondents preferring watching sports on their TVs, down from 38 percent the previous year.

“While a great number of people still watch plenty of TV shows on TV sets, our research uncovers a rapid acceleration in their preference for viewing on other digital devices - especially laptops, desktops and smartphones.” said Mann, adding "Driving this rapid shift in consumer preferences is the growing convenience, availability and quality of more personalized and compelling content on laptop and desktop personal computers and smartphones ... The massive and accelerating push by communications and media companies to provide ubiquitous content - TV everywhere including over-the-top - has empowered consumers to access high-quality content across multiple devices.”

Accenture's research highlights a growing trend away from communal TV - towards personal devices and viewing habits. While televisions will remain in the home for the foreseeable future, the sheer number of viewing choices available online has become more important than the size of the screen or the quality of broadcast. It's not just a case of quantity over quality, either, with Netflix and other producers releasing a number of award winning shows in recent seasons. Convenience and choice have become equally important in this new age of media, with the shared family experience of watching a show together likely to suffer as a result.

Image Source: Andrey_Popov /