Thursday, October 6, 2011

Social TV heats up the battle for the living room

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of consumers with a broadband connection surveyed by Ovum claim to surf the internet at the same time as watching TV.

The independent telecoms analyst has found that the rise of the ‘second screen’ is now widespread, with 37 per cent of the consumers it spoke to stating that they indulge on a regular basis.

The trend is particularly strong in emerging markets such as India, although the universe of connected households in such countries tends to be still weighted by at least the early majority. More mature countries such as Japan however also strong uptake with 76 per cent of connected consumers at least occasionally using the second screen.

Ovum’s survey revealed that overall 51 per cent of the consumers it spoke to use the internet to access further news or information related to the TV content they are viewing. Meanwhile, 38 per cent said they use the net to discuss the TV programme on social networking sites such as Facebook, an element of the so called ‘social TV’ phenomenon. These figures rise to 59 per cent and 53 per cent respectively for 16 to 23-year-olds. Activity can differ from country to country however. In Japan for example, social networking in general is not as strong as in some other markets, and therefore social TV of course also lags behind.

There is also good news for advertisers, as 35 per cent claimed they access further information related to certain TV adverts.

Ovum principal analyst Michael Philpott believes the emergence of the second screen and social TV trends have both positive and negative connotations for the TV industry.

He commented: “On the negative side, increased adoption of more personal internet connected devices, and our growing reliance on and interest in internet applications, have reached such a level that they are diverting our attention away from the TV.

“It is therefore feared that it might only be a matter of time before more valuable advertising revenues also move away from the TV and onto the second screen.

“However, on a more optimistic note, there are a number of applications currently being developed that help the TV industry take advantage of these trends. The applications directly tie the TV and social networking sessions together, creating a new, fuller, and more interactive TV experience.”

According to Philpott, in the not too distant future social networking will play a big role in how we access TV and video content, with a number of devices working together to provide the complete experience. He commented: “Traditional TV players must understand and innovate around this area if they are to survive in the long-term. To simply watch from the sidelines will be to hand the advantage to more innovative direct competitors, or online operators, which are becoming increasingly powerful in the media space.”

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