TV faces challenges

11 January 2012

NEW YORK: Many consumers are using devices such as smartphones and tablets as replacements for watching broadcast television in the traditional way, a study has found.

Accenture, the consultancy, conducted an online survey of 10,000 people in ten countries, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Sweden and the US.

In all, 90% of participants owned a desktop PC. Another 53% possessed a smartphone, and a third of the panel had bought such a device in the last year, an increase of 25 percentage points on an annual basis.

More specifically, smartphone uptake had reached 64% among 18–34 year olds, declining to 45% for 35–55 year olds, according to Accenture's findings.

Tablet penetration had also grown from 8% to 12%, with these gadgets seeing the largest rise in purchase intent across the 19 categories assessed, attracting the interest of nearly 30% of interviewees.

Less positively, data from China, France, India, Japan and the US showed the number of people watching linear or cable TV in an average week had decreased from 71% in 2009 to 48% today.

During a normal seven-day period, 33% of adults watch shows, videos or movies on their PC, and 10% do so via a smartphone.

In keeping with such a shift, the amount of people planning to buy a regular, HD or 3D TV fell from 35% in 2010 to 32% in 2011.

"Craving an always-on, always-connected lifestyle, consumers increasingly are using other consumer electronics devices in their daily lives to access the entertainment that only TV once provided," Mitch Cline, global managing director of Accenture's electronics and high-tech group, said

"They are rapidly substituting other screens, such as laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones, to view media content."

Elsewhere, 64% of respondents had downloaded applications to their mobile phone or tablet, and 49% installed at least one of these tools each week in the last year. This figure hit 55% for younger panellists.

Monetisation remains a challenge, as 73% of people downloading apps typically opted for those which are free. Information apps, like those for news and sport, proved the most popular, ahead of the social networking and entertainment categories.

A 51% majority of adults buying electronics products last year did so at a specialist retailer. Just 18% used pure-play ecommerce sites and 14% went to the online platform of a bricks and mortar operator, Accenture added.

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff