Unpacking your consumption assumptions: study

Those in the media industry may overestimate how much on-demand and SVOD people are actually watching.

A new Ipsos study commissioned by ThinkTV found people the media industry may not be so good at estimating Canadians’ viewing habits.

The survey spoke to just under 1,000 people — 602 from the general public and approximately 400 from the ad industry. It asked industry professionals to guess how much platform viewing a typical Canadian does in a day, and asked typical Canadians to self-report their own habits. (It also examined consumers’ engagement with ads on various platforms.)

In some cases, the industry assumptions were bang-on. The general public self-reported as watching 2.4 hours of broadcast TV per day, while the industry pros estimated 2.3 hours per day.

But others industry guesses varied vastly. Industry pros responding to the survey overestimated people’s time spent watching subscription services (2.3 hours per day as the assumption; 0.9 hours per day self-reported from the public). Industry respondents also overshot viewing on on-demand content (1.5 hours per day as the assumption; 0.4 hours self-reported), YouTube (estimated 1.6 hours; 0.8 self-reported) and using social media (2.9 hours estimated; 1.4 hours self-reported).

Interestingly, the industry respondents’ estimations also varied greatly from their own habits. For example, although industry experts estimated that the Canadian public watched an average of 1.5 hours of on-demand content per day, they themselves reported to only watching 0.5 hours of on-demand content per day.

They also under-estimated the time spent watching TV on an actual set and over-estimated time spent watching on smartphones nearly threefold. The industry estimate put 52% of time spent watching TV on sets and 13% on smartphones. The self-reported numbers from the Canadian public showed that 67% of TV was watched on a set, and 5% on a smartphone.

Other over-estimations included the use of Facebook (77% of respondents reported using it in the past month, compared to an estimation of 87%), YouTube (67% used in the past month versus an estimation of 96%) and Instagram (29% in the past month versus 90% estimation).

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