Viewers in major European countries increasingly use multiple TV sources | Media Analysis | Business
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A study from Gracenote and nScreenMedia has revealed that TV viewing has become a complicated undertaking for European audiences who juggle multiple services to get all the video content they want and access those services across multiple devices.
gracenote nScreen 15May2019
The study titled, TV Universe - UK, Sweden, Germany: How People Watch Television Today, looked at consumption patterns and attitudes towards different TV services and features in in the first quarter of 2019 in the three key markets which combined account for 31% of the EU’s total population. The study was conducted from February to March 2019 and surveyed 1,500 adult TV viewers in the UK. Germany and Sweden. The data was weighted to represent the general population of each country.

The research found that pay-TV is currently the most popular television source in the UK and Sweden with nearly two-thirds of consumers in each market using it. In Germany, however, the most popular source is free-to-air TV which accounts for the vast majority of viewers at nearly four-fifths.

Another key finding of the research was the fast adoption rate of online TV. Across the board, online TV is now the second most popular source behind pay-TV with usage ranging from just under 40% in Germany to more than 50% in the UK and Sweden.

This said Gracenote was a remarkable rise as online TV is a relatively new offering. In fact, Netflix, the original online streaming service, only launched in the UK in 2012. Whereas 12 years ago most homes relied on a single-source for TV, Gracenote noted that today nearly half of viewers in all three of the countries studied are multi-source television households.

In the three territories, the TV was the preferred device to watch video content on in all three countries. A significant 70% of total viewing time is on the TV screen in the UK and Germany, while in Sweden, the number clocks in at 60%. Samsung is the most popular TV brand in all three countries. More free-to-air viewers use broadcaster apps to supplement viewing than pay-TV viewers use their operator TV Everywhere apps. In fact, over half of free-to-air users in each country use broadcaster apps.

In all three European markets surveyed, consumers pointed to on-screen programme guides and user interfaces (UIs) as being critical tools for finding content to watch. Three-fifths of viewers indicated visual imagery and TV artwork displayed in the guides exert important influence on their viewing choices. Among the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, the number jumped up to around 90%.

In addition, respondents indicated TV show and movie descriptions which shed light on content are also factors in their tune-in decision-making. 70% of UK. viewers said the programme descriptions were at least somewhat important. 65% of Swedes and 57% of Germans thought the same.

“Consumer behaviour relating to TV viewing is changing rapidly in Europe as it is around the world,” said Gracenote chief product officer Simon Adams. “This new research provides the clearest, most timely snapshot of how viewers in the UK, Germany and Sweden get the movies and TV programs they are looking for and how they discover new content. By understanding viewer needs, behaviours and attitudes, Gracenote is uniquely positioned to help the industry develop new products and features that maximise TV viewership and engagement – critical business priorities in today’s hotly competitive landscape.”

“The new TV Universe study shows that online TV has become the second most popular source of TV entertainment in a remarkably short period of time,” added Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst at nScreenMedia. “Also telling is the fact that, though most online viewing takes place on the television, consumers don’t have the discovery tools they need to efficiently find something to watch there. Features such as voice and cross-service search are thinly used in each country. There is also plenty of room for improvement with content recommendations as a quarter or less think they accurately reflect their interests.”

The full report is available for free download now at