Multichannel News recently published its annual Viewer Watch report. Directed at service providers and programmers, this year’s installment pays close attention to TV Everywhere and the proliferation of connected devices, two trends that are changing viewer behavior. The report leverages data from Nielsen, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fox Cable Networks and Turner Broadcasting System to examine online video trends, cord cutting and the evolving television landscape.
Here are just a few stats and trends that caught our attention:
• The rise of smart phones, game consoles and over-the-top (OTT) boxes means that Internet video has passed the early adopter phase and is officially mainstream
• Tablet sales continue to explode. Analysts predict that Apple will sell 100 million iPads in 2012
• Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all multichannel subscribers have the capability to stream video to either a handheld device or a TV set
• While online video viewing is increasing, the amount of time spent with traditional TV also increased by 1.9 hours over the past 5 years
• Electronic distribution will continue to grow in the coming years
It is clear that both broadcasters and consumers are struggling with the rapid level of technological changes. Quoting from the report:
Consumers continue to complain about a lack of a unified TV Everywhere interface for all devices; confusion stemming from widely varying digital offerings, in which content is made available on some platforms, but not others; and the authentication process that grants them the right to view specific programs.
Meanwhile, programmers and distributors continue to struggle with different operating systems that add costs and complexities to delivering content to an ever-growing number of devices.
2012 will present a number of challenges, as well. How will broadcasters cut costs while delivering secure content to a variety of screens? And how much of an impact will the economy have on broadcasters and viewers who both want to reduce spending and increase value? We recommend reading the Multichannel News report for increased insight into the current state of broadcast television and key trends to watch for 2012 and beyond.
The report emphasizes that the impact of online video on pay TV/cable is still unclear. But it does state that, "not surprisingly, it is hard to find a major operator or programmer that has not launched some kind of tablet or mobile application." These companies are either hedging their bets or getting ahead of the curve -- either way, they smell the change coming.