In the past, TV content was viewable on one device: the TV set.While television sets remain the favorite way to watch video programming, they’re no longer the only option. Now, TV content can accompany us through our days, via computers, tablets, and smartphones. With more fluid viewing options, we choose how we watch content based on our circumstances in the moment.

Whether they’re 9, 19, or 29, content must be relevant to consumers, in any way they choose to consume it.

This was a key finding from TV S.M.A.R.T., a new research project by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) that shows how and why TV viewing is changing around the world, and how advancements in distribution are changing the ways viewers consume and engage with content.

The project’s main findings were that audiences still love TV and TV content, viewers use a “hierarchy of screens” to choose the devices they view on, and that in order to be successful, TV today must be S.M.A.R.T. (Social, Mobile, Accessible, Relevant, and Tailored).

We’re covering all of those elements in our series of posts on TV S.M.A.R.T.  Here, we’re focusing on “R” for Relevant:

More than 4 in 10 TV viewers are accessing TV content online using methods other than a TV set.

  • Laptops and desktops are most commonly used for TV viewing (24% and 20%, respectively)
  • 15% use smartphones, 7% use tablets, 4% use gaming systems

Viewers seek out the optimal viewing experience via a “hierarchy of screens.” They gravitate toward the best available screen—starting with the TV set.

  • If the TV set is in use or if the viewer wants more privacy, they’ll choose a desktop, laptop, or tablet as the next best screen
  • With the smallest screens, mobile phones are used primarily outside the home or when other devices aren’t easily accessible

Consumers want programming that is relevant to them, presented in an environment for them.

  • Super-serving our audiences is something they really appreciate
  • As examples, My Nick Jr. allows parents to create a customized channel for their preschool-age children and MTV Music, powered by Rhapsody, provides a personalized music experience through mobile
  • The incredible diversity of options can make it difficult for consumers to navigate the programming universe—so we’re making it easier for them to find content they will love