Development of the use of audiovisual services

In the spring of 2015, FICORA commissioned an annual consumer survey that examined Finns' service usage patterns for communications services. The questionnaire was implemented as telephone interviews during March and April, and the sample represents 15–79-year-old residents of Mainland Finland. 3,000 persons responded to the questionnaire. A comparable survey was also implemented in the spring of 2014 and in the autumns of 2010–2012.

This year, the consumer survey also examined the use of audiovisual content services, such as television viewing and viewing of video content on the internet. Twice a year, Finnpanel conducts a TV-taloudet Suomessa (Television households in Finland) study, which charts television viewing of Finns. The information acquired from these two studies provides a fairly comprehensive picture of the use of audiovisual services among Finns in the spring of 2015.

Over 40 per cent of Finnish households receive television signals through an antenna. A similar number of households are in a cable television network according to the consumer survey. IPTV has fast become more common, and 12 per cent of households view television programmes through an IPTV subscription. According to Finnpanel's study, the share of IPTV is 16 per cent. The differences between these studies may depend on definitions and partly on the error margin. Both figures provide a good indication that this method of reception has become more common. This is also supported by the fact that on the basis of subscription numbers there are approximately 0.14 IPTV subscriptions per household. IPTV services refer to television services offered to households through broadband subscriptions, through which it is possible to view the same real-time programming as through cable or antenna television. IPTV as a concept is still unfamiliar to consumers, so it is possible that everyone using the service does not realise that they have acquired an IPTV subscription, and thus the shares vary in the questionnaire studies. Households may use a number of television signal reception methods at the same time; an IPTV subscription, in particular, may be acquired as a parallel viewing method alongside terrestrial or cable television.

Devices used to view television programmes

According to the most recent Finnpanel study, approximately 95 per cent of all Finnish households own a television set. A traditional television set has retained its popularity in the viewing of television programmes, even though television is viewed in a more diversified manner using different devices. Viewing of television programmes on the computer is increasing annually, and almost half of households view television programmes on the computer. The use of tablet computers and smartphones, in particular, for viewing television programmes has been growing during the past few years; one in four already views television programmes with a tablet and over 15 per cent with a smartphone. The share of people using a tablet for viewing has increased by almost one-third over half a year, so the methods of television viewing are fast becoming diversified.

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Figure: Devices used for viewing television programmes

Viewing of internet television and recordings

According to the consumer survey, Finns view internet television in a diversified manner. Over 60 per cent of Finns view television programmes or videos using the services of domestic television companies, such as Katsomo or Yle Areena. More than half view videos on Youtube, and one in four uses video-on-demand services, such as Netflix. The viewing of recordings on a digital TV receiver is still popular, because over 40 per cent state that they view recordings.

According to the consumer survey, the viewing of television programmes and video content on the internet has become a daily routine in all age groups. In the youngest age groups, almost everyone views audiovisual content on the internet from different sources. The oldest age group of 65–79-year-olds has also found the internet television services. Most often a 65-79-year-old Finn utilises the television companies' own internet television services, which are viewed by 40 per cent of the 65-79-year-olds; one in five of them also uses video services, such as Youtube.

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Figure: Video services used by Finns

According to Finnpanel's study, video content on the internet is viewed in a diversified manner with different devices. Two in three households view videos on the computer. The share of smartphones and tablet computers in the viewing of videos has risen fast, and 40 per cent view videos with a mobile phone and one in three with a tablet. The use of computers, tablets and smartphones for viewing videos on the internet has grown according to Finnpanel compared to the situation six months before.

The consumer survey queried the willingness of Finns to pay for more diversified television content than the charge-free supply. Only one quarter would be willing to pay for a more extensive supply than the charge-free content, and one in six would be willing to pay for better image quality. Finns are used to charge-free television services, and the willingness to pay for television viewing is lower here compared to other countries. According to the information of the international Telecommunication Markets in the Nordic and Baltic Countries statistical publication, pay television and IPTV subscriptions are considerably more common in the other Nordic countries than in Finland.

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 2/2015.

Key words: Internet, Television, Articles, Reviews, Statistics

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