TV habits to evolve in UK

24 November 2010

LONDON: The emerging generation of web-enabled TV services could ultimately reshape consumer media habits in the UK, a report has argued.

Research firm Kantar Media surveyed 2,234 people aged 12 years old and above, and found 42% are currently aware of IPTV.

However, 63% of subscribers to Virgin Media, which offers video-on-demand services via television sets, had streamed material in this way during the last month, declining to 22% engaging in such a pastime online.

Elsewhere, 42% of Sky TV viewers had previously utilised this medium to access VOD, compared with 27% logging on to the internet for this purpose.

In households only possessing a Freeview set-top box or ariel, which provide no such facility, 34% of participants had played back content after its original transmission using the net.

Kantar Media anticipated the launch of YouView, supported by the BBC and allowing the Freeview and Freesat audience to watch shows when they wish to, may strengthen public awareness.

Turning to mobile, just 6% of the panel had consumed broadcast output through a wireless phone or equivalent portable device in the four weeks before the survey.

YouTube was the most popular mobile platform, having attracted 60% of this group, the same number as would "prefer to be able to choose to watch TV programmes from a variety of channels on one website" going forward.

Despite digital's rising prominence, two-thirds of interviewees regarded linear TV "as a medium that is important to them", a proportional increase of 14% year-on-year.

The internet posted the next highest score, on 57%, ahead of radio on 44% and newspapers on 38%.

Respondents under 35 years old afforded a leading status to the web, beating television in second place.

The report forecast that 47% of residences would own a DVR in 2011, up 10% proportionally on annual basis, with HDTV penetration improving 20%.

"We see connected TV as a potential 'game changer' in how people are going to be watching TV," said Trevor Vagg, Kantar Media director.

"The ability to watch streamed online content is not a new concept for consumers but being able to view it on their high-spec TV screen rather than their laptop or tablet will be a no-brainer."

"Connected TV also has the possibility of really taking the internet into the living room and making it more of a shared experience."

Data sourced from Kantar Media; additional content by Warc staff