What does ¨TV like¨ mean?

Ofcom has published its long-awaited research into the definition of what is ´TV Like¨ in the context of AVMS, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The report, commissioned by Ofcom and carried out by Essential Research Ltd, was intended to help Ofcom understand which on-demand audiovisual services are regarded by users as competing alternatives to linear TV services when they want to watch TV programmes, and why.

The research approach identified a range of on-demand services and then mapped these according to what extent users considered them to be ¨competing alternatives¨ to linear TV.  The spectrum below shows the services that were used as test stimuli (in blue), together with other frequently mentioned services (in yellow). Those at the left are the more obvious substitutes for linear TV, those at the right, not so much.

Source: Essential Research LtdSitting at the right hand of the spectrum, and the most obviously TV like are:

  • PVR content
  • TV VOD services
  • Catch up services

The services next most closely considered TV like were those offered by Netflix, Lovefilm and iTunes, because content these services can be accessed only by subscription or pay per view. It is interesting to note that feature films were not always considered to be TV like content.

Vevo and music videos on YouTube were the last services considered to be a ¨reasonable substitute¨ for linear TV, mainly because music videos, like films, were not top of mind as TV content, and also because some felt that music videos were clips rather than programmes.

The rest of the services tended not to be considered as reasonable substitutes for linear TV.

Services such as Babelgum, Channel Flip and Fosters were considered too commercial. ¨Funny¨ user generated videos on YouTube, Guardian Video and videos on the BBC website were all classed as services that served up  “clips” by viewers, as well as giving them options to create playlists and interact with the content. Top Gear on YouTube also fell into this category, good news for BBC Worldwide. Although the participants indicated that they often used these services, they did not tend to regard them as a substitute for linear TV.

The full report can be accessed here.

On-demand services: understanding consumer choices
Annex 2: Audio visual content take up and viewing