UK TV viewers slow to embrace change

23 April 2012

LONDON: Most consumers in the UK are not seeking a "major step change" in the TV market, instead typically preferring new technologies that support their existing viewing habits.

Freeview, the digital television platform, surveyed 2,000 people, and found that 62% saw "catch-up" services like the BBC iPlayer to be among the most "appealing" recent innovations in the field.

A further 59% afforded this status to platforms letting enjoy content "anytime", while 51% pointed to enhanced electronic programme guides and 46% chose home networking.

Elsewhere, 25% of the sample mentioned tools allowing them to record shows from remote locations, and 19% selected 3D broadcasting.

Mobile television, however, registered a relatively modest 12% on this metric, a figure reaching only 6% for TV-related smartphone and tablet apps.

"The clear message is that the innovations people like most are the ones which best fit with and improve the things they already do today. They like new things which offer an improvement rather than a major step change," said Ilse Howling, managing director of Freeview.

In terms of how "useful" these innovations might be, 63% of participants agreed catch-up services provided clear advantages. "Anytime" viewing received 60% here.

For 56% of respondents, more detailed and interactive programme listings also had a practical value, just beating remote recording tools on 53%.

An additional 16% of interviewees regarded 3D transmissions as potentially "useful", three percentage points below the total for those arguing it was "appealing".

By contrast, 15% of the panel suggested mobile TV could be useful and 8% adopted this opinion for mobile and tablet apps, both bettering the score logged on the attractiveness index.

"I am absolutely certain that no technology can succeed in the next decade without an appreciation of what the vast majority of viewers want," said Howling.

"However, in the melee of the television world, it's often easy to get caught up in industry hype on the latest fad. We must make sure that technology isn't running ahead of consumers in terms of what they actually want."

Data sourced from TechCrunch; additional content by Warc staff