In today’s world, how many people still watch their favourite programmes on TV screens? This habit of lounging on a couch as you watch your favourite show is fast changing. Mobile screens – smartphones, tablets, laptops – are rapidly emerging as preferred alternatives or have simply replaced TV screens for many who prefer a more personalised viewing experience.
Technology continues to be a game changer. Earlier, one watched movies in cinema halls, till TV entered homes and a smaller screen and more personalised viewing became the norm.
Technology has once again brought about major changes. Content today has moved to much smaller screens and can be viewed just about anywhere – at home, in the park, while commuting to work, and even at work! Improvements in screen display using Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology, buffering technology for Video on Demand (VoD), improved internet speeds and bandwidths have all contributed to this parallel availability.
Research in the US indicates that the shift towards mobile viewing is increasing. TV content viewing time on smartphones and tablets nearly doubled between 2014 and 2017 growing from 9% to 16%. MilleXZials, comprising millennials, Gen X and Gen Z between ages 14–51, spent almost 22% of their TV viewing time on smaller screens.
In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, more than 50% of television programmes shall be viewed on mobile screens such as tablets, smartphones and laptops. With content-on-demand options increasing, mobile viewing is bound to escalate.
It is interesting to note that the midsize screens – laptop and desktop computers – have steadily been losing viewership to the mobile smartphones. For media, entertainment and broadcasting companies, this new medium of customer reach has expanded their market. Mobile phone penetration is growing rapidly, and almost everyone wants a smartphone that allows them the option to download apps that provide content. Mobile-friendly or mobile-optimised formats are further attracting mobile video consumers. Several players such as Netflix have a clear mobile-friendly strategy which gives them a competitive edge.
Content consumption habits have also undergone a major change. People now want to watch programmes uninterrupted by commercial or any other breaks, as well as have the option of pausing and resuming viewing at their will. Mobile phones make that easily possible. Binge viewing has emerged as a new form of watching content, especially on the mobile phone, where people spend an entire day watching their favourite series, from episode 1 to the last episode, unlike earlier when weekly soaps or daily soaps kept people hooked to the shows over an extended period. Technological advancements have changed the rules of content creation, distribution and consumption moving it from the bigger TV screen to a smaller screen which offers a more personalised viewing experience. So, which screen do you prefer?