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Cable Technology Feature Article

September 29, 2014

How Much Will Netflix Change Video Habits in Western Europe?

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

New habits have a huge role to play whenever a new technology creates the possibility of new behaviors and spending patterns. That arguably is true for Internet access speeds as well as applications: use drives further usage.

That seems to be the case for video on demand in the German market, according to TNS.

More than 60 percent of survey respondents reported they have been watching more prime video content overall, and at least half of respondents reported buying fewer DVDs as a result.

Also, 33 percent of men and 23 percent of women said they went to a cinema less often as a result of their use of video on demand services.

Fully half of males and 33 percent of females could imagine that one day they would use only video on demand services to see movies and TV shows.

The TNS (News - Alert) study found that 71 percent of weekly web users ages 16 to 65 watched video on digital devices in June 2014, a finding that mirrors similar studies suggesting that mobile video is a top application for most users.

The top reasons for using VOD among Internet users in Germany included the convenience of time shifting, cited by 79 percent of respondents as important.

As you might expect, 72 percent of respondents mentioned the ability to avoid ads as a value of video on demand.

As Netflix has found, “binge viewing” likewise is viewed as valuable. Some 46 percent of respondents said they enjoyed not having to wait for the next episode of a favorite TV series.

The point is that behavior changes tend to cascade over time. Once users become accustomed to a value, application or service, they often change overall behavior permanently.

In the German market, the entrance of Netflix in Western Europe is prompting new questions about how much VOD could reshape user behavior.

In the U.S. market, for example, adoption of Netflix arguably has not affected linear video services so much as it has been embraced as the functional equivalent of a “premium service” such as HBO.

Whether that is the pattern in Western Europe, or whether there is some other impact, is the issue. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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