Thursday, September 27, 2012

SmartTV Adoption - The Future is Over There

Despite TV set makers pushing Smart (internet connectable) TVs for the last couple of years, a report from Magid found that only 21$ of U.S. consumers have actually connected their TVs to the Internet.  In contrast, a study by Rovi found that around two-thirds of smart TVs and gaming consoles are connected to the Internet in Germany and Western Europe, while only 25-30% of smart TVs and game consoles are actually connected to the Internet.  A third report, from online ad platform smartclip, suggests that 60% of smart TV owners in the U.K. and Germany have connected their sets to the Web.
  One possible source of the difference is that new technologies and services are often tested in smaller European markets before being introduced in the U.S.  Another is that the smaller average dwelling sizes in Europe encourage consumers to look for integrated devices.  It's also been suggested that slower connection rates in the U.S. may be a result of the fact that connectivity is widely included as a basic feature of many new TVs, disc players, and game consoles, but is yet something that American consumers are looking for.  A study from GfK found that only 29% of U.S. consumers reported that Internet capabilities was something they looked for in new TV purchases.
  What's more interesting is that the emerging markets of India, Brazil, and China seem to be leading in the way in adopting and using Smart TVs.  GfK found that 61% of consumers in India, and 64% of those in China indicated that Internet capabilities was an important factor driving new TV purchases.  And once purchased and connected, they tend to be regular uses - three-quarters of Smart TV owners in China report having used connected features in the last month.
“We are seeing the developing countries such as India, Brazil and especially China viewing an increasing amount of content away from a television set, but also using TV in a more advanced way,” said Richard Preedy, research director at GfK, in a statement. “They combine viewing a programme with increased levels of online activity -- giving us a glimpse into how the West will start to move in the coming years. China, India and Brazil essentially are the early adopters at the moment. However, in the coming decade, critical mass will be reached in traditional TV markets such as the UK, U.S. and Germany and the way we all watch programming will be changed forever -- finally burying analogue for good.”
  While initial adoption may be faster, it's less clear that connected TV users in developing countries are using their connections in the same way as American consumers.  Outside the U.S., consumers are less likely to be interested in social applications.  In a 13-country survey of consumers, only 28% thought that the ability to interact with programmes were likely to make them more interesting.  Only 25% thought that commenting on programmes through social media "enhances the viewing experience."  Consumers in developing countries were more interested in discovery than interaction; a third more viewers used connected TVs to search for information on programs than used social media to share the viewing experience with friends.  GfK also found strong consumer interest in expanding and facilitating user control of viewing - 43% were interested in using devices other than the remote to control the TV, and two-thirds were interested in touch and gesture control.  The study suggested that "western consumers are stuck in an ‘analogue’ mindset, whereas viewers in emerging markets are more likely to exploit the digital capabilities of Connected TV."
  The GfK research report concluded -
"While TV does not show any signs of losing its position as the top content-viewing device, other technologies are starting to catch it. The growth of online catch-up and streaming services makes devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and games consoles far more accessible in terms of content delivery and therefore more appealing to viewers looking for content rather than a mechanism for consuming it. ... (Viewers are looking  for) the most convenient and intuitive method of consuming this content across their device ecosystem.”

  As for connected TV devices, it seems that the future is now - it's just not here.

Sources -  U.S. Lags Europe, Emerging Markets In Smart TV AdoptionVidblog
Western analoque viewers fail to keep pace with digital connected TV revolution,  GfK press release

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