Media consumption is changing. To predict changes in user’s behaviour the majority of the industry is still relying on ownership of devices and usage of devices, age of users or household sizes as key indicators to predict media consumption behaviour.

In this article we propose to use user’s needs and values as key factors to understand and segment user groups. Based on a selected set of findings from a large study combining questionnaires with ethnographic oriented user studies in several European countries and Canada, we show how basic needs and values can explain changing media consumption.


Is media consumption really changing? Will people stop watching TV? Will the future living room just autonomously anticipate what people want to do and present content on different screens? And do people really want that? Media consumption has been changing over the past 15 years.

But instead of the often predicted disruptive change, the way we consume video and TV content has gradually evolved. Basic measures like age, device ownership and usage as well as household types (e. g. family, multi-generation) are used to predict media consumption change (we refer to them as change predictors).

For example, age can be used to predict the likelihood of having a Netflix subscription: the older people are the less likely they have Netflix. Change predictors claim to help us understand what technology to invest in and which one not to focus on. The intention is to be able to differentiate between technology that is a fashion and technology that is becoming a trend. Our experience as remote control producer has shown us, that for example using gesture-based interaction to control your TV was clearly a fashion, while the ability to (naturally) communicate and talk to others as well as to a system is a trend.

But age or device ownership do not help to understand: what is a fashion? And what is a trend? It is the understanding of consumer needs and most important user’s values that enable us to understand the long-term impact of technology on media consumption. Changes in needs and values can help to predict which technologies will be adopted by consumers and how behaviour accordingly changes, which technologies, especially in Smart Homes, need to be adapted and what type of values and needs will lead to the rejection of a technology.

This article provides an explanation of the method used to establish and validate the model of needs and values for media consumption behaviour, because product experience has a complex and layered nature according to individual and cultural differences. Using a selection of results from a set of studies we highlight important changes in media consumption and conclude with a description on how consumers, emphasising special user groups, can be targeted – not by looking at their age or living style, but by describing their varying needs such as safety, social or self-actualization needs and meaning and values such as health, inner harmony or honesty.

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