Television Remains Preferred Viewing Medium for 69,2% of Flemish People

Only 2,7% Prefer Online Video Over TV; User Experience is Critical Factor

The television landscape is rapidly changing: viewers increasingly hop from device to device (place-shifting) and often self-compose their individual viewing evenings (time-shifting). Despite the huge offer of (mobile) devices and online video services like YouTube, Vimeo, Popcorn Time, Netflix or Stievie, Flemish people are still most devoted to their television sets. Research from the iMinds project ‘SHIFT-TV’ shows that television remains the preferred viewing medium for 69,2% of Flemish people; only 2,7% prefer online video over TV. Mainly quality and user experience seem to inform this preference.

Multiscreen is Mainstream, but TV Remains King

Research group Media & ICT (MICT) of iMinds - Ghent University surveyed 1.163 TV viewers to assess the popularity of time-shifted and place-shifted television viewing in Flanders, and the related viewing experiences. The results confirm the rise of multiscreen TV viewing (the use of multiple screens to watch TV shows): 61,4% watches television every day, but laptops (33,8%), smartphones (32,4%) and tablets (28;5%) are also increasingly represented in our TV viewing habits.
Based on participant feedback, the researchers identified four viewer types - 
  1. Multi-Device, Mixed On-Demand/Live Watchers (16,6%): view both live television and TV on demand, through multiple (4 to 5) screens – (mainly younger highly educated)
  2. Dedicated Device, On-Demand Watchers (27,5%): mainly watch TV on demand, through a limited number of screens (1 to 2) – (mainly older highly educated)
  3. Dedicated Device, Live Watchers (21,6%): mainly watch live TV, through a limited number of screens (1 to 2) – (mainly older low-skilled)
  4. Multi-Device, On-Demand Watchers (34,3%): watch TV on demand through multiple (3 to 4) screens – (mainly younger highly educated)

These research results confirm the findings of iMinds’ yearly digiMeter: there is a growing segment of so-called online media masters who are online always and everywhere and who watch their video content through multiple screens. This group is losing interest in television as the most important medium and is experimenting heavily with streaming technology and alternative content providers. For the majority of people in Flanders however, television continues to be the preferred medium; user experience proves to be of crucial importance…

Television Experience Superior to Online Video

“Flemish people continue to refer to the traditional television as their favorite screen for viewing video: no less than 69,2% prefers the television set; the laptop is lagging far behind with 14%, the tablet only reaches a score of 6%”, says Karel Vandenbroucke, iMinds - MICT - UGent. “The television is used least for individual and on-demand viewing; the smartphone the most.”

These results suggest that user experience is heavily influenced by size of the screen: the average viewing experience score for television is 4,3 on a scale of 5; significantly higher than the user experience on laptops (3,61), tablets (3,58) and smartphones (3,24). 

The way in which video signals are sent is also crucial for the user experience. Television images are sent over a network with higher quality parameters than often is the case for online video services. Problems experienced by users as particularly frustrating include faltering image (4,14 on a scale of 5) and asynchronous image/sound (3,99) – even though a refusing TV decoder also causes frustration (4,13). 

“Over 97% of Flemish viewers agrees that the video quality on television is at least as good as that of mobile devices. Only 2,7% thinks online video images are higher in quality than traditional TV images,” says Karel Vandenbroucke.

Read more in De Standaard (in Dutch)


  • Karel Vandenbroucke, iMinds - MICT - UGent / / +32 9 264 97 84
  • Wim Van Daele, iMinds Persrelaties / / +32 9 331 48 23