Special Story

The 2015 ARRIS Index Reveals Disparity between Expectation and Reality of Home Wi-Fi


Nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers have issues with Wi-Fi at home – a likely consequence of the growing number of connected media devices and a tremendous opportunity for service providers to improve connectivity issues.

The 2015 ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index (CEI) reveals that consumers demand Wi-Fi without limits, and highlights a growing disparity between expectations and reality when it comes to Wi-Fi at home. The findings also point to a connection to the expanding ecosystem of devices and the growing popularity of streaming services.

Worldwide, the average home now has six media devices connected to its Wi-Fi network, and the average household spends almost 6.5 hours each week streaming a subscription service. Moreover, four out of five (81%) of those who stream now do so at least weekly, up from 72% just last year. There is a clear connection between Wi-Fi and mobile TV too, with nearly three-quarters (73%) of people who watch mobile TV at least once a week, using Wi-Fi to do so.

These trends are a likely culprit of the Internet issues that nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers experience, as well as their renewed interest in high-speed Internet in every room of the house – a service that 72% indicated was either very important or vitally important.

The research underscores new qualifications for the rise of both mobile TV and binge-viewing. While the popularity of mobile TV continues to increase—more than half (59%) of consumers are now watching TV on-the-go—the potential for growth is greatest in older demographics, where barriers of inconvenience and cost continue to challenge broader market adoption. Meanwhile, binge-viewing has evolved into a very personal and solitary activity for 60% of binge-viewing consumers.

The good news for service providers is that these trends represent a number of opportunities to make it easier for consumers of all ages to download or stream content to customize content and services to the individual consumer experience, and to solve connectivity issues by giving consumers a high-speed wireless connection where it is needed—all over the home—through better Wi-Fi equipment and training.

Key findings from the 2015 ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index include:
1. Good quality Wi-Fi has become a necessity in homes: 72% of consumers consider a high-speed Internet connection in every room of their house either vitally important or very important. And, more than half (54%) state that it is vitally important to have high-speed Wi-Fi that works outside of its current range. Service providers have a tremendous opportunity to solve connectivity issues for consumers by providing reliable, high-speed connections throughout the home.
2. Popularity of mobile TV is maturing among younger demographics, but future growth will rely on older generations: More than half (59%) of all people now watch mobile TV, rising to 72% of 16-24 year-olds. However, while young people watch the most mobile TV, there has been no increase in the number of viewers. For 65+ year-old consumers, the number of mobile TV viewers has increased by a remarkable 11%, up from 19% last year. This demographic presents an excellent growth opportunity for operators if they can help consumers overcome barriers of inconvenience and cost, and make it easier to download or stream content.
3. Consumers prefer to download vs. stream mobile content: Nearly three-quarters (72%) of downloading consumers say it is important to be able to download content to a device so they can watch it on-the-go without an Internet connection, rather than having to rely on cellular connections to stream. Also, 73% of the respondents who watch mobile TV use Wi-Fi to do so. This presents an opportunity for service providers to facilitate content downloads to mobile devices.
4. Binge-viewing has gone solo in 2015: 60% of binge-viewers do so alone, and the average binge-viewing consumer now watches for 3 hours in each sitting. Thus, service providers have an opportunity to personalize content and services for the individual and deliver a more tailored customer experience.
5. Slow Growth in OTT Fails to Draw Broadcast TV Users: The past year has seen a nominal increase in OTT users (from 93% to 94%) and a similarly nominal decrease in broadcast TV users (from 97% to 96%). This highlights a disparity between industry expectation of these services and their actual rate of acceleration and suggests that Broadcast TV remains king for now.
Sandy Howe, Senior VP, Global Marketing, ARRIS, commented: “The ARRIS CEI research offers our customers invaluable insight into the evolving consumer interaction with entertainment technology and content. It underscores four major trends: 1. consumer dependence on Wi-Fi and consequent frustration with its quality, 2. the concurrent growth and hindrance of mobile TV adoption, 3. the growing preference for downloading vs. streaming mobile content, and 4. the increasingly personal nature of binge-viewing.
“All of these trends point to a tremendous opportunity for service providers and programmers to customize their offerings to these new consumer trends and to ensure the quality of the home’s Wi-Fi network, which increasingly is bearing the weight of this evolution in services.”

Reliable Wi-Fi evolves from a convenience to a necessity in every room
Reliable Wi-Fi has become a necessity in homes as the average global household now has an average of six media devices connected to its Wi-Fi network. However, two-thirds (63%) of consumers have experienced significant issues around slow Internet speeds that affect streaming and downloading of large files and video. Service providers have an opportunity to solve connectivity issues by giving consumers a high-speed wireless connection where it is needed – all over the home.

• 72% of consumers say having a high-speed Internet connection available to use in every room of their house is either vitally important or very important.
On average, 54% of respondents say it is vital to have high-speed Wi-Fi that works beyond its current range, it is even higher in some countries, most notably in Asia-Pacific:
o South Korea (68%)
o China (67%)
o India (61%)
Issues with streaming and downloading content varies by country:
o Four out of five (80%) of Chinese Internet users experience issues – the highest reported
o A third (38%) of Japanese Internet users experience issues – the lowest reported
Respondents are disappointed with Wi-Fi quality in multiple rooms in the house:
o Living room: 13%
o Master bedroom: 13%
o Kitchen: 10%
o Toilet and bathroom: 10%
While on average, 29% of global respondents use a Wi-Fi range extender, it is even higher in some countries:
o More than half of people in India (52%) use a Wi-Fi range extender
o 47% in Brazil
o 42% in Russia
And while on average 19% of global respondents are considering getting a Wi-Fi range extender, again, this trend is even higher in some countries:
o 32% in Mexico
o 29% in Turkey
The bedroom has become even more popular as a place to stream TV and movies:
o 35% of those who stream a subscription service do so in the bedroom (up from 22% in 2014)
Of course, not everyone even has or uses Wi-Fi at home:
o 9% of global respondents do not have or use Wi-Fi at home
o 17% in Russia do not have or use Wi-Fi at home
o 28% in Japan do not have or use Wi-Fi at home

Popularity of mobile TV is maturing among younger demographics, but future growth will rely on older generations

The popularity of mobile TV is maturing among younger demographics, 59% now watch TV on the go. However, future growth will rely on older generations. The industry must help consumers overcome barriers of inconvenience and cost, and make it easier for consumers to download or stream content.

• This year, consumers are 7% more likely to watch mobile TV away from home, and 6% more people watch TV in that manner every day
• Most surprisingly, in 2015, mobile TV grew the most among 65-year olds and over (11% increase)
However, the younger people are, the more they watch mobile TV:
o 72% of 16-24 year-olds watch mobile TV
o 53% of 45-54 year-olds watch mobile TV
o 42% of 55-64 year-olds watch mobile TV
Mobile TV consumption varies by age group, for 25-34 year-olds, specifically:
o One in five (21%) watch mobile TV daily
o More than half (57%) watch mobile TV at least once a week (up from 53% in 2014)
o Although, 27% never watch mobile TV (down from 29% in 2014)
Not everyone wants their TV to be mobile:
o 41% of global respondents never or rarely use a laptop, smartphone or tablet to watch TV outside the house
o This rises to three-quarters (75%) of respondents in Japan, followed by 62% in Australia, and 60% in Canada
• High costs are holding back younger people from watching mobile TV. For older people, the screen is the main reason
The majority of mobile TV consumers use Wi-Fi:
o 73% use free Wi-Fi
o 50% use 3G/4G/5G
Consumers prefer to download rather than stream mobile content because of patchy coverage while on-the-go

The majority of respondents prefer to download vs. stream content for mobile viewing. 72% of downloading consumers say it is important to be able to download content to a device so they can watch it on-the-go without an Internet connection, rather than having to rely on cellular connections to stream.
Consumers mostly prefer to watch mobile TV while travelling:
o 44% watch on public transport (highest in South Korea at 68% and Singapore at 67%)
o 41% while waiting to meet someone (highest in Brazil at 54%)
o 31% watch in the car (highest in India at 52% and in the US at 44%)
o 31% while waiting to receive a service such as at the doctor’s or a repair shop (highest in Brazil at 46%)
o 30% at restaurants, cafes, bars or pubs
o 27% while out walking
o 24% at a hotel
o 14% while shopping
• 68% of respondents said they are interested in a service that allows them to watch any TV program at any location
o Rising to 75% for 16-24 year-olds
Binge-viewing is a solo activity

Expanding on binge-viewing trends uncovered last year, binge-viewing has gone solo in 2015 – service providers have an opportunity to personalize content and services to the individual for more tailored customer experiences

• 60% of binge-viewers in 2015 said they do so alone
Solo-binging is most popular in the Asia-Pacific region:
o Four out of five (80%) of binge-viewers solo-binge in Japan
o 77% in China
o 72% in South Korea
And is lowest in Latin America:
o Mexico solo-binges the least with only 40% of binge-viewers doing so
More young people binge-view, and they do it for longer:
o 89% of 16-24 year-olds binge-watch globally
o On average, they watch for 4 hours each time
o 70% of 16-24 year olds binge-view at least once a month (the same as last year)
People prefer to binge-watch on a TV, but mobile-binging is also rising:
o 69% binge-viewers use a TV (up from 61% in 2014)
o 21% use a mobile device (up from 16% in 2014)
Binge-watching is a monthly occurrence for most people:
o 33% of all respondents binge-view at least once a week
o 56% binge-view at least once a month
o 54% of people in Brazil binge-watch weekly though (up from 39% last year)

Slow Growth in OTT Fails to Draw Broadcast TV Users

Results reveal disparity between industry expectation of OTT/catch-up TV services and its actual rate of growth and suggests that Broadcast TV remains king for now.

• 1% growth in OTT users since last year (from 93% to 94%)
o Rising to 12% in the 65+ year-old age group (from 70% to 82%)
• 1% drop in broadcast TV users who have access to OTT (from 97% to 96%)
• The average consumer spends 11.8 hours per week watching free broadcast TV
o Compared to:
o Subscription paid TV: 10 hours/week
o Internet stream via on-demand TV service or catch-up TV service: 6.4 hours/week
o Internet TV with / without attached box: 6.3 hours/week
o Internet stream via paid subscription TV service: 7.6 hours/week

[ARRIS’s Consumer Entertainment Index is a research project looking into the media consumption habits of 19,000 consumers across 19 markets: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA. The research was conducted on behalf of ARRIS by independent agency, Vanson Bourne].