TV viewing is on the move, literally. In eighth edition of its Consumer Lab TV and Media Report, Ericsson has learned that the traditional ways of watching TV are shifting. Among their findings are that more people are going mobile, on-demand continues to rise and that virtual reality will continue to make inroads with consumers.

By the time we reach 2020, Ericsson says that 50 percent of TV and video viewing will be mobile, with viewers watching on a tablet, laptop or smartphone screen; an 85 percent increase since 2010. The smartphone will particularly be popular, representing about a quarter of total TV viewing. Already, 70 percent of consumers say they now watch video on their smartphones, double what it was in 2012.

Ericsson reports that a consumer’s time spent watching TV and video content has hit an all-time high of 30 hours a week, including traditional linear, on-demand, and downloaded or recorded content. It’s on-demand content that is charging out ahead, with nearly 60 percent of viewers saying they prefer on-demand viewing over scheduled linear TV viewing. The number of on-demand services used by the average consumer has gone up from 1.6 in 2012 to 3.8 in 2017; two in five consumers said they already pay for on-demand TV services and 32 percent plan to increase their on-demand spending within the next year.

These trends are clearly evident in 16-19-year-olds, who are 33 hours a week view the most content of any age group. Ericsson found that more than half of the age group watches content on-demand and more than 60 percent of viewing hours spent on a mobile device.

While viewing time is up, so is the amount of time spent searching for content, per the report. The average time spent searching for content has increased nearly an hour a day, 13 percent higher than last year. Six in 10 consumers now consider content discovery “very important” when subscribing for a new service; 70 percent want universal search for all TV and video.

Consumers are also expected to continue to support VR, with a reported third of consumers projected to be VR users by 2020. Though there are still challenges. The price of headsets is an issue for 55 percent of consumers and more than half want more immersive content to be available. The idea of a VR bundle from TV and video providers is something of interest for a third of respondents. – TV Technology