HORSHAM, USA: Consumer hunger for social media connectivity and demand for "anytime, anywhere" entertainment is driving the most dramatic industry convergence in the past 20 years and radically shifting the traditional TV viewing experience, according to a global study released by Motorola Mobility Inc.
Key trends from the 2011 Motorola Mobility Media Engagement Barometer are:
* Online engagement and social TV, mobile TV, personal cloud services, and home automation are redefining the home ecosystem.
* Digital entertainment and social media enhance the traditional TV experience – consumers are hungry for content and connection.
* New forms of entertainment and connected services create additional revenue streams and opportunities to strengthen customer relationship.
Motorola Mobility's 2011 Media Engagement Barometer – an independent global study of video consumption habits among 9,000 consumers in 16 markets – shows several major themes redefining the home ecosystem and consumer entertainment experience. This year's study found that consumers expressed a deep hunger for mobile TV, social TV, connected home and personal cloud services. Individually, each of these categories offers service providers significant opportunities to expand value-added services, improve customer loyalty and tap into new revenue streams.
"Consumers are constantly connected – and they want ubiquitous access to their content and communities," said John Burke, senior VP and GM, Converged Experiences, Motorola Mobility. "They don't care about the technology to make all of this happen; they simply want it to work and expect it to fit into their daily routines. The convergence trend upon us is a tremendous opportunity for our customers to capitalize on delivering this simple, intuitive experience in the home."
TV consumption remains steady
Consumers' desire for constant connection is influencing TV and video consumption, which accounts for an average of 15 hours per week worldwide. Germans now watch an average of 18 hours a week of TV and video compared to 14 hours (TV and video) in 2010. US respondents now watch 21 hours of TV per week – two hours more than in 2010.
On-demand TV courtesy of the consumer's DVR is shifting how and when consumers watch their favorite programs. This year, three times as many US consumers are watching on-demand TV – 18 percent in 2011 compared to 5 percent last year. The UK had a similar increase with 15 percent of consumers watching on-demand TV in 2011 compared to 8 percent in 2010.
Service providers may seek to leverage this trend by offering improved real-time experiences at the original airing of the show. Deeper engagement with the programming via an integrated social TV element can provide viewers an incentivized reason to watch the initial program airing and engage with other fans immediately.
Online engagement and social TV present strong opportunities
With an average of 12 hours spent online per week and another six hours dedicated to social media, online engagement continues to be a mainstay in the consumer's weekly routine. Additionally, social TV is already a big trend, with more than half (61 percent) of global respondents saying that they have already discussed a TV program with friends via a social network. The trend is expected to continue – an additional 49 percent said they would be interested in this type of service – and represents a huge opportunity to service providers worldwide.
Additional global online engagement and social TV findings include:
* A preference for accessing a social TV service using a PC, smartphone or tablet (43 percent) instead of the television set using an on-screen menu (40 percent).
* Using social networks to comment on the program is the preferred social TV service for 89 percent of respondents in Germany, 87 percent in the US and 60 percent in South Korea.
* Respondents in Russia (55 percent) and the US (34 percent) said they would prefer a social TV service that links through to sites to buy products featured on the program, while only 23 percent of respondents in Germany preferred this type of service.
* People worldwide preferred a service that allows them to video chat with family and friends; support for this feature was especially high in China at 58 percent of respondents interested this type of service, compared to 37 percent of U.S. respondents and only 19 percent in the UK.
Mobile TV finally here
It appears mobile TV has truly taken off in the past year – more than a third (37 percent) of global respondents claim to watch TV services outside the home on a smartphone, tablet, PC or laptop.
The 2011 research discovered a nearly five-fold increase from 2010 in US TV viewing taking place on smartphones – 23 percent are currently watching mobile TV on their smartphones.
Comparatively, 46 percent of Japanese respondents report they have watched mobile TV on their smartphones in 2011.
Germany (22 percent), UAE (20 percent), and Mexico and Singapore (both 19 percent) are also big mobile TV fans, while Argentina had only 7 percent of consumers watching mobile TV less than once a week.
Finally, more than a quarter (27 percent) of the global consumers aged between 25-34 years watch mobile TV on a mobile device once or twice a week, as do just over a third (34 percent) of consumers in the 45-54 age group and (33 percent) of respondents in the 55+ age group.
Personal cloud takes shape
A September 2011 Juniper Research study predicts consumer cloud revenues will reach $6.5B by 2016 – and that growth is driven by video and music services. This is supported by Motorola's study, which found that 52 percent of US consumers were interested in a service that enabled access to their personal data (such as videos, photos and other information) on any device, from anywhere in the world.
In 2011, 41 percent of global respondents said they would be interested in a personal cloud type of service, but would need to be convinced of its value.
These findings were particularly true among respondents in Singapore (50 percent), South Korea (49 percent), UAE (39 percent) and the US (37 percent). China (38 percent), Mexico and Turkey (both 35 percent) were the most interested in this type of service, compared to 7 percent of German respondents.
Connected home services on rise
Respondents in Mexico (49 percent), Turkey (43 percent) and China (42 percent) are the most interested in being able to manage parts of the home remotely via a smartphone, tablet or laptop, while at 31 percent, Australia, Sweden and the US are closest to the global average of 30 percent.
Globally, 36 percent of respondents said they would like their communications provider, instead of home security alarm companies or utility providers, to supply a home automation service. Finally, the research found controlling the home remotely is of more interest to men (34 percent) than women (26 percent).