1 in 4 MEA Internet users still choose TV screens over other devices

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Despite the rapid rise of Internet users in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region who consume content on PCs, laptops, mobiles or tablets, TV screens still remain the most popular choice for watching various forms of television content (such as live broadcasts, catch-up and subscription services).

According to data released by GlobalWebIndex for Q2 2017, one in four Internet users in the MEA region (26 per cent) choose to watch all of their chosen content on their TV screen. In contrast, only eight per cent report using PCs, laptops, mobiles or tablets for viewing content, without devoting any time to TV sets.

However, analysts believe this trend is unlikely to continue in the future as more and more users prefer to go online.

Grabbing eyeballs

“It’s a no brainer that the share of online TV viewing will continue to grow at the expense of offline. However, the rate, size and shape of the movement would depend on the context of how you choose to define ‘TV’,” maintains Bhaskar Khaund, Regional head of TV & Multiscreen, MEC MENA.

Down the line, social platforms too have the potential to change the game – they already have the scale and, going by current trends in the US, content wouldn’t be far behind, he reasons.

Data from Ipsos on TV viewing trends in the UAE also supports this view. Between 2011 and 2015, the time spent watching TV daily has been declining in the UAE, going down from 5.12 hours per day to 4.40 hours last year.

In line with the world

This preference for TV screens to other devices in the Middle East, however, is in line with the global trend. Based on the responses of 72,529 Internet users aged 16 to 64, the GlobalWebIndex data shows that 24 per cent of Internet users worldwide choose to watch all of their chosen content on their TV screen.

In contrast, only 13 per cent choose to watch TV content on other devices (such as PC, laptop, mobile and tablet).

Europe (39 per cent) and North America (38 per cent) lead globally in terms of the highest percentage of Internet users between 16 and 64 who watch TV content (any form) on TV screens, while those who watch TV on devices such as PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets are seven per cent and six per cent, respectively, in Europe and North America.

In terms of age brackets, more than half of viewers between the ages of 55 and 64 only use a TV set for viewing TV content, whereas those between 16 and 24 are now more likely to watch TV content through other devices than on TV.

– By Sunil Kumar Singh