NUREMBERG: Western consumers are stuck in an "analogue" mindset, whereas viewers in emerging markets are more likely to exploit the digital capabilities of connected TV, according to a new study.

The report, from market research firm GfK, covered thirteen countries and found that people in markets such as China, Brazil and India are more open to the opportunities offered by web-connected television more than their counterparts in the UK, US and Germany.

However, GFK's research shows that less than one in three (28%) of users found programmes that they can interact with to be more interesting to watch, suggesting that "social TV" has a way to go before it hits the mainstream.

Engagement levels varied widely from market to market. Just half of Western smart-TV owners had used their device's full functionality in the previous month, compared to 75% of their Chinese counterparts.

In terms of hardware, emerging markets have seen a greater and more rapid uptake of enhanced TV capability, with 61% of consumers in India and 64% in China saying they look out for an internet-enabled TV. 

This compares with figures of just 26% of consumers in the UK and 29% in the US. Across all markets, however, price, screen size and display technology, remain the most important factors when buying a new TV.

Generally, BRIC viewers "combine viewing a programme with increased levels of online activity, giving us a glimpse into how the West will start to move in the coming years," said Richard Preedy, Research Director at GfK.

Within the next ten years, Preedy added that he expects "critical mass" to be reached in traditional TV markets. After that, "the way we all watch programming will be changed forever – finally burying analogue for good".

Elsewhere, the study shows that discovery is still more important to viewers than interaction. A third more viewers siad search for information on the shows they are watching than use social networks to share the experience with friends.

Preedy also noted that devices other than TVs are appealing to viewers looking for content.

"Technology manufacturers and OS developers could hold the key to future content delivery,” he said, "with viewers looking towards the most convenient and intuitive method of consuming this content across their device ecosystem."

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff