Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, June 26, 2009

Digital TV Free Entertainment Consumption

Futuresource Consulting is studying how consumers interact with and consume digital entertainment, whether via the TV, online or mobile.

For the first wave, online surveys were carried out in the UK, France, Germany and the USA with more than 2,500 respondents -- focusing on in-home connectivity and online content consumption.

"This tranche of research has provided key insights into consumer behavior across four major territories, allowing us to compare and contrast viewing habits on a country-by-country basis," says Alison Casey, Head of Global Content at Futuresource.

The study shows that nearly 90 percent of Pay-TV subscribers in France who make additional payments to their provider are doing so for movie titles, and there are substantial differences between countries.

German Pay-TV subscribers came out on top for making additional payments for sport and TV shows, with France (sport) and the UK (TV shows) ranking last.

In the UK, Pay-TV subscribers are adopting free on-demand and catch-up video delivered to their TV. Eighty percent of respondents whose package offered this service used it, with the impact of the BBC iPlayer clearly shown in the research.

When Futuresource asked respondents whether they ever watch TV, movies and video on their PC or laptop, two thirds of people in the UK replied either often or sometimes, with consumers in the U.S. not far behind.

But when they asked people if they connected a laptop directly into a TV to watch video from the internet, the results were inverted, with Germany leading the field, closely followed by France.

And, of those who have never connected a laptop to a TV, many didn't know how to -- or had never thought about doing it. Image the upside potential for OTT video when online viewing via a TV becomes a mainstream activity.

Across all territories surveyed, of those who watched streamed or downloaded video content online around 90 percent have never paid for news content or recently-missed TV shows, gradually sliding down to just over half that have never paid to watch new movies.

However, the survey showed that of those who have never paid, more than half answered yes or maybe when asked whether they would be "willing" to pay in the future. All respondents were also likely to pay, or pay more often, if they were offered online content in HD -- or if they could keep the downloaded or streamed content.

There is a huge appetite for free on-demand TV, and yet adoption of paid content is still low. The propagation of new business models is likely key to market development, with video site location, navigation and meta tagging still causing major problems for consumers.