What does TV mean to people around the world today?

We set out to explore this question by talking to 10,000 people in 10 countries (Argentina, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Thailand, UK and US) via an online survey and in-home ethnographies with selected viewers. For some respondents, we affixed Go Pro cameras to their TV sets to get a front-seat view to their TV habits. Here are some of the insights we gained from this project:

People love TV. There’s a lot of love for TV in the world. It’s perceived as a companion, a unifier, and a source of inspiration. TV is as central to people’s lives now as ever. In fact, 69% of people surveyed feel that TV is a part of their daily lives, and 70% say it’s an important source of entertainment.

TV is bigger and better than ever – and it’s about content more than devices or platforms. In recent years, the number of services and devices for watching TV has proliferated. When we asked people how they define “TV” in this complex landscape, 62% said “TV shows and movies.” They see TV as content, not the tools they use to get their shows and movies. For 74%, as long as they can access what they want to watch, the device and service simply don’t matter.

People use TV to reduce stress, but the amount of content available to viewers is overwhelming. Nearly two-thirds say that there are so many great TV shows coming out, it’s difficult to keep up.

Audiences are seeking out viewing experiences that are easy and seamless. Searching for content is time-consuming and frustrating – especially on VOD services. Viewers yearn for simplicity, with 80% saying they wish they were able to access all their TV content through one service and 77% wishing it were easier to find the TV shows and movies they love.

Viewers are also defaulting to content they know. They want TV to be easy, not another set of decisions to make. For some, this means watching something they’ve seen before. Others turn to linear TV as a way of simplifying their choices.

In short, people love TV as much as ever, but with so much great content it’s stressful to decide what to watch. To improve their viewing experience, give them the ease and seamlessness they crave.