It’s no secret that the way consumers watch TV content is evolving and changing.

TV S.M.A.R.T., a new research project by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), provides a deep understanding of how and why TV viewing is changing around the world, and what advancements in distribution mean for how viewers engage with and consume content. The study also identifies the emotional and functional benefits that viewers gain through different screens and access points.


Audiences (still!) love TV and TV content.

Consumption of traditional, measured TV continues to increase: it’s up by 1 minute globally in 2012, 7 minutes in Europe.

  • People across the globe told us that TV was a very important part of their day. It’s their me time, their distraction from real life, and what fills any and every moment they feel bored.

Consumers are also discovering new ways of accessing content on their TV sets.

  • Connected TVs and operator-enabled services let viewers control, target and more fully enjoy the content that they love.

And while consumers do love time-shifting methods, we found that live TV remains by far the dominant way to access video content.

  • And as a matter of fact, having access to time-shifting technology actually increases the time spent watching content overall.

Consumers choose their devices according to a “Hierarchy of Screens.”

  • Next to the TV set, audiences around the world use a number of additional devices to watch, ranging from PCs and laptops to tablets and mobiles as well as games consoles. Some of those devices are connected to the TV set; others are used as screens on their own.
  • We found that more opportunities to watch content on multiple devices also increases the amount of time spent viewing, and have identified a new “Hierarchy of Screens” – an order of preference by which consumers are choosing which screen to use.
  • With increasingly busy lives, they want TV to fit into their timetable, not the other way around. Whether this means missing the first 15 minutes of a show on Live TV and being able to start it late, pausing it to chat with a spouse, or series binging on episodes on Saturday to catch up, it’s all about seeing video content in moments when you can be fully focused and engaged.

That means TV today needs to be S.M.A.R.T.: All of this research leads to the introduction of the TV S.M.A.R.T. concept – a lens for thinking about TV, a rubric that works to align our partners, networks and programs to the young audiences of today and tomorrow. Across VIMN, we use the TV S.M.A.R.T. filter to think about the experiences we create for our audiences.

  • TV continues to be a SOCIAL experience around the world.
  • TV content is consumed traditionally, but it is also more MOBILE
  • Content is ACCESSIBLE through the television but also on laptops and other mobile devices.
  • It is all about RELEVANT content – it must be delivered around consumers’ lives, whether they are 9, 19 or 29, providing variations on content appropriate to viewing behavior.
  • Together all of these characteristics help us to create a TAILORED TV experience.