In an ever-changing media landscape, what role does TV play in people’s lives today? We took that question to 16 countries to learn how viewers are consuming video content right now. But we didn’t stop there – we also took TV away from them to see how they would cope, revealing deep insight into the continued value and power of TV.

Here’s what we found:

TV in all forms matters. With viewers reporting that they’re watching more than last year, it’s clear that TV viewing is not a zero-sum game. While on-demand library viewing and short bursts of online entertainment video are important, they complement other services rather than replace them. Pay and linear TV provide routine, timely and effortless entertainment – qualities that remain fundamental to the overall viewing experience.

Audiences want easy-to-use services. Being user-friendly is the most important quality in a TV service or platform. If it’s difficult to operate, viewers won’t use it.

Life stage has a big impact on viewing. For many, age determines behavior. Kids are supported by family and have tight restrictions on what they can watch; teens are supported by family but have increasing independence; young adults aged 18 to 24 are in a transitional phase and have little cash to spend; and adults over age 25 are more established in life and have more reliable income, but also less free time. As viewers pass through these life stages, their viewing habits and preferences change.

TV is essential for staying up-to-date on culture. Watching television is more than mere entertainment — it’s an experience that connects people. Viewers want content that is fresh and live. They crave the feeling of being a part of something.

Viewers don’t always know what to watch. Audiences sometimes like to actively choose their shows – but not all the time. They also find it relaxing to flip through the channels and see what’s on. In short, they appreciate being able to make active and passive viewing selections.

TV offers an opportunity to bond with loved ones. In today’s always-on world, quality time with family and friends can be scarce. Great content brings people together.

Want to learn more about this study? Check out a sneak peek below!