Online video over the TV goes mainstream in Netherlands

Wednesday 10 January 2018 | 16:29 CET | Background

Over two-thirds of Dutch households had TVs connected to the internet at the end of 2017. The share increased 2 percent points over the year to 68 percent, according to a survey  by the Telecompaper Consumer Insights panel. Growth is starting to slow, after increasing from 49 percent of households at end-2014 to 61 percent a year later. 

TVs can be connected to the internet in multiple ways. The most common way to watch online content is  a smart TV, and these were used as such by 39 percent of the Dutch at the end of 2017. Smart TV use has grown steadily in recent years, from just 11 percent in 2011 to 27 percent in 2014. With just a 3 percent increase in the past year, the market appears to be saturating. 

Apple TV not growing

Apple TV also appears to be hitting a saturation point. Only 4 percent of Dutch consumers used the device to watch online content, and this share hasn't grown since 2014. This may be due to alternatives getting cheaper, such as smart TVs. While the latest generation of Apple TV adds support for apps, it's also a bit more expensive than its predecessor, which is no longer available. Furthermore, many of the set-top boxes provided by pay-TV operators offer similar functionality. 

The much cheaper Chromecast from Google did increasd its penetration in the past year, to 11 percent from 7 percent in 2016 and 2015. The growth may be due to the widening price gap with Apple. 

PC/laptop use declining

The latest figures show a significant drop in the number of people connecting a PC or laptop to the TV. This is not so surprising given the growing choice of devices, as mentioned above, for viewing internet content on a TV. The somewhat awkward method of connecting a computer fell to just 9 percent of households last year, compared to 12 percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2015. 

Another 2 percent said they use a Wii games console to connect the TV, down from 6 percent the previous year. The other major game consoles, Xbox and Playstation, also had low percentages, of respectively 3 and 5 percent. These figures have been relatively stable over the years, suggesting connected game consoles are not a major driver for viewing internet content on the TV. 

Households with kids watch more online content

Households with children are more likely to watch internet content on the TV, at 78 percent compared to 63 percent of all Dutch households. They also show a higher penetration of game consoles and interactive set-top boxes for viewing online programmes over the TV. The share of smart TVs in this group was 45 percent, also above the market average, while only 35 percent of households without kids used a smart TV for viewing online content. 

Plateau reached?

While watching online videos on the TV has clearly become mainstream, at over two-thirds of all hosueholds, growth is slowing. The percentage increased only two points in the past year, less than previous years. The growth may be over or it could just be a temporary slowdown. Telecompaper research shows that the number of pay-TV subscribers has been falling, and cord-cutting is gathering pace, especially among the 20-40 age group. This means that more internet content will be consumed in future, and likely over the TV screen. Whether the TV is connected to the internet will no longer be a question. 

This research is based on the Telecompaper Consumer Insights Panel and data collected in Q4 2017 and previous years. Panel participants are aged 12-80, and results re stratified according to age, education and gender. For more information about research opportunities with the panel, please contact research@telecompaper.com.

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