Living Room survey shows video content divergence between EU and US

living-room-survey

RTL AdAlliance today presented the results of the third edition of The New Life of the Living Room research, providing an in-depth view on Europeans’ attitude towards video content and for the first time compares the habits of video consumers in 11 European markets with those in the US.

The findings reveal the growing diversity of video consumption and how viewers are feeling overwhelmed by today’s content.

Living Room habits of EU vs US

While TV is the favourite video device for Europeans — more than three quarters of all respondents (76%) use it daily — TVs and smartphones are tied for first place among US viewers (both are used by 74% daily).

Smartphones rank second in popularity among European respondents (64%), while PCs and notebooks are in third place both in the US (50%) and Europe (41%).

Tablets also remain relevant albeit at a lower level than other devices (31% use them daily in Europe and 46% in the US).

Smart TVs have changed the way viewers engage with video content in the living room. Digital video content now plays a significant role in TV viewer’s experiences.

But despite the diversification of accessible content, linear TV is still popular among Americans and Europeans, as over two thirds of respondents (69% in Europe, 68% in the US) watch linear TV at least once a week.

Among European viewers linear TV is the most widely watched video content channel on TV devices and more than half of the European respondents say linear TV is the first destination when switching on the TV.

US viewers are increasingly opting for streaming, with more TV viewers watching subscription-based video on demand (SVOD 77%) and short-form online videos (72%) at least once a week than in Europe (68% and 55% respectively).

The largest difference between US and European respondents is with ad-funded video on demand (AVOD) and free ad-funded streaming TV (FAST).

While almost two thirds (62%) of US respondents watch ad-funded streaming content at least once a week, only a quarter of European respondents tune in.

Ads on streaming services viewed as part of watching experience

One reason for this difference between Europe and US viewing may be the varying levels of tolerance towards ads.

While only a third of US respondents are annoyed by video ads on any platform (e.g. 32% are annoyed by linear TV ads, 30% are annoyed by AVOD advertising), those in Europe are less tolerant.

There is a bright spot for marketers, however: European viewers find ads on AVOD and SVOD platforms less annoying than ads on any other platform, while ads on short-form video are perceived as most irritating across both European respondents (57%) and US respondents (38%).

Watching video at home is among viewers’ favourite activities and they want as many options as possible, from choosing the device and the platform to deciding if they watch ad-free content.

But the sheer volume of content available creates a paradox of choice for many viewers. Of those in Europe, 60% say they sometimes feel lost when presented with the amount of content available, while 64% of US respondents also admit that they sometimes do not know what to choose.

Aurélie Brunet de Courssou, Marketing Director at RTL AdAlliance, said: “The paradox of choice is an emerging trend in video entertainment. Users value the diversity and enjoy content across many different devices and platforms, but they crave simplicity to access their favourite shows and movies.

“Bundled offers, embraced by 44 per cent of the respondents in the US and eyed by 38 per cent in Europe, signal this shift. Simplicity, trust, and proximity are the key media trends shaping content and ad choices.

“In a climate of AI and social media distrust, credibility and relevance in media are paramount.”

The comprehensive study is based on a quantitative survey carried out in February 2024 covering over 10,000 respondents aged 18 to 64 across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and for the first time Belgium and the US.