Media Motives & the Role of TV

03/05/2019 By Piers Lee

BVA BDRC recently partnered with the School of Management & Communication  at the Republic Polytechnic in Singapore to undertake extensive research to assess the media habits & preferences of Gen Z & Y consumers. From November 2018 to January 2019, we undertook five focus groups (with a diary survey) and 346 quantitative surveys, to assess viewing habits, devices used, the role of TV today, genre preferences, attitudes to advertising, and video gaming behaviour.  We report some of the key findings in our “Talking to Generations” Series…  

Part 2: Media Motives & the Role of TV

Generally, the motives to consume media are entertainment, filling time, as a form of relaxation, for general interest and sometimes to aid education and studies.

Media consumption is increasing because of easy access via mobile devices, but also due to the increase in variety and improved quality of productions from streaming services (as shown by the popularity of Netflix).

Some express concerns over the impact that media consumption is having on personal relationships and personal development.  TV series, in particular, can result in media addiction and binge viewing, though some would argue that social media and constant access to news are equally damaging addictions.

But media can also spawn interests in other activities.  Our research showed that TV documentaries can develop an interest in hobbies such as photography or even media production itself.

Media forms part of our environment, and it is not all consuming.  It often complements other activities – based on BVA BDRC’s survey, 48% of media viewing occasions occur when we eat.  We also see media as the background to house work, cooking, and even time spent in the bathroom.

It even provides company while we travel.  In fact, we’ve found that media habits change on leisure trips, with more demand for content such as music TV – again, forming a type of ‘background noise’ to our other activities.

In fact, the results of our survey suggest that many media channels are missing opportunities with the travel market. Often, particular channels that consumers expect in hotel rooms that are, in fact, missing.

In the age of new media, TV has held its own.  Our research suggests that 95% of households in Singapore have a TV, despite the fact that though 99% own mobiles, 90% own PCs and 60% own tablets that can all access media.

Despite this, the traditional role of TV is dying.  Yes, around 80% of people surveyed stated that they still watch TV with family and friends, but this activity is declining.  A net 33% of consumers state that watching TV with friends and family has declined in the last two years, whilst watching media on other devices with others has held steady.

We have also seen a decline in the viewership of linear TV. Today, amongst households that have a TV, 24% of young adults surveyed said they do not watch any linear TV.  This is higher among males and Generation Z (those under 22 years old).

But the TV is still a useful device, providing consumers the viewing and audio pleasures of a bigger screen and home sound systems.  We found that as many people use the TV to view content from their mobiles as a replacement for linear TV.  People are also streaming directly to their smart TVs from subscription services.  Similarly, around half of households have gaming consoles, this is despite the popularity of mobile gaming – again, it is about enhancing the gaming experience.

So, despite the influx of new media, the TV as an electronic item will remain on consumers’ shopping lists.

Looking ahead, some of those surveyed found high tech platforms like holograms as having appeal.  3D TV, however, seems to have fallen out of favour, perhaps because it is simply that much easier to use a mobile.

Download the full 'Talking to Generations' Series

For more information on this study, contact:

Piers Lee (Managing Director of BVA BDRC Asia)