More Malaysians prefer streaming over downloading, especially now that smart TVs are making it easier than ever to stream shows.
The era of the couch potato lives on: a report on digital media consumption states streaming has become mainstream, with most users watching their shows in their living rooms.
The State Of Digital Lifestyles 2018 report highlights that globally 61.1% of viewers prefer streaming digital movies and TV shows over downloading for offline viewing (31.2%), renting or purchasing DVDs (7.7%).
Locally, the report by Limelight Networks finds streaming is catching on with Malaysians, with 52.5% of respondents preferring to stream their shows, compared to downloading (45%) or getting a DVD (2.5%).
Its senior sales director for SEA and India, Jaheer Abbas notes that though smartphones have come to be the dominant platform for media consumption over the last two years – overtaking desktops and laptops – smart TVs are starting to become a popular option, even surpassing tablets.
“This is thanks to how the ecosystem for smart TVs have improved significantly, making it easier to stream from the TV,” he says.
Though the living room was the most popular place for streaming, those in the 18-25 age group preferred to watch in the bedroom and while commuting.
So the biggest challenge for streaming services is in being able to offer the best user experience for watching shows on the go.
He says though consumers preferred streaming over downloading (for offline viewing), some still downloaded their shows because they were worried their connectivity could be compromised while on the move.
The report is based on responses from 5,000 consumers over the age of 18, who have downloaded or streamed in the last month, and living in Malaysia, Singapore, India, Japan, South Korea, Britain, the United States, France, Germany and Italy.
Music was the most popular digital content among Malaysians, followed closely by movies and TV shows, then apps, newspapers and magazines, and games. Ebooks, the least popular medium, ranked significantly lower.
As the market here matures, Malaysians are now opening their minds, and wallets, to paying for content.
The report finds those in the 26- 35 age group are the most likely to pay, with men willing to purchase any type of content and women more willing to buy ebooks.
“It’s not just about the money, we as consumers are maturing. Three years ago if I could get a service without ads, without buffering, I would pay. However today a modern audience also wants a much wider selection of content,” says Jaheer.
Things are also looking up for streaming services that offer subscription plans – this year 10-12% switched from watching for free to paying, up from 2-3% several years ago.
However, Jaheer says that more options and competition between content providers has allowed users to be more choosy.
“They want everything, everywhere, all the time. Anything less, no thank you,” he sums it up.