NeedStates: The Role Of Video

Contrary to popular belief, consumers aren’t abandoning television; they are seeking out video content in alternative spaces to suit their needs.

By 2023 TV is predicted to account for 61% of video viewing and SVOD 14%; Netflix on its own is on course to reach a whopping 10 million subscribers by the end of 2018.

The above stats make for impressive reading but Thinkbox were keen to understand why people watch video in the first place.

In 2013, Thinkbox commissioned research to identify the different needstates that drive video viewing. The results of this showed there to be 6 in total; unwind, comfort, connect, experience, escape and indulge.

5 years on and a repeat of this study, entitled “The Age of TV”, showed this to have evolved because of the proliferation of online and mobile video. In addition to the 6 needstates defined in 2013, a further 2 needstates have been identified as defining our video viewing habits; do and distract.

Distract, which accounts for 18% of video viewing, is described as filling time or providing viewers with a brief break from mundane tasks. Predominantly this content is made up of short-form videos with the aim of lightening the viewers mood i.e. when commuting or waiting for a TV show to start.

Do, meanwhile, serves a far more functional purpose.  Driven by online video (more specifically YouTube), this satisfies the need for useful information that can be practically applied in life (i.e. Instructional videos for cooking or DIY) and makes up roughly 2% of video viewing time.

What’s most interesting about these newly discovered needstates is that they are predominantly made up of the 16-34 demographic. Notably, for 16-24s, 29% of viewing is driven by the ‘distract’ needstate.

On the face of it, this is a reasonably worrying statistic. If viewers are watching video content without concentrating then it’ a concern for advertisers that viewers might not be recalling the ads they are exposed to.

This is a question yet to be answered and represents the next logical next step for this research. We need to know how receptive consumers are to advertising when consuming video for each needstate; these insights would be hugely valuable to advertisers and could significantly impact video advertising strategy.

Ultimately, identifying these 8 needstates is a great start in the journey to understanding the role video plays in consumers lives. However, given the complexity of the topic and the rate at which the video market is developing, we are at the beginning of a very long  road of discovery.