posted on Friday, 18th May 2012 by Steve May
According recent research gathered by content and metadata outfit Rovi, the way consumers use TV and their attitude to programmes has changed dramatically since the advent of internet-enabled television and the growth of Subscription Video on Demand services. The brand's chief evangelist Richard Bullwinkle says the company conducted 300 interviews in 70 US homes throughout 2011, to ascertain the impact of the connected TV experience on a broad cross-section of the viewing population, and was surprised by the findings.
Bullwinkle said that while the resulting research confirmed that "there were a lot of people excited about what they can now do with technology" a sizeable proportion felt that reaping those benefits involved too much effort, indeed few consumers had the patience to master any new technology. A common complaint from users included the sheer "number of things that had to be firmware updated just to make things work."
It's clear that trying to sell the mainstream buyer consumer electronics for the living room that behave like PCs, is not going to work. The industry must strive to deliver a more TV-like experience, he said. "Searching, browsing, updating and buffering are not TV-like. In fact an enormous number of people found that the technology they had purchased wasn't what they expected at all, that they were bringing the worst parts of using a computer into the television environment."
ROVI's 2011 research also revealed some interesting new viewing behaviour, including the phenomenon of PVR guilt: "We've found that programmes people habitually watch together tend to become unwatchable when one partner is absent. People simply feel that they can't relax and watch certain shows without their viewing partner present."
Consumers also suffer from anxiety if they don't manage their recorded library. Rovi's research found that many consumers can't enjoy new programme material, until they've deleted older recordings. The company said it was not uncommon to find consumers who have content that's more than a year old on their digital recorders.
One particularly fascinating area of research centred on the thorny subject of Social Media. All connected TV vendors now offer Facebook and Twitter apps, but few people appear to use them. "We've found that Social Media on the TV is not necessarily something people want. Data suggests that consumer engagement with social media is inversely proportional to the size of the screen used for it," said Bullwinkle.
He adds that when teenagers were interviewed they were "horrified at the prospect of displaying their social activities on the family TV." The experience was also deemed to be disruptive. "Most consumers have up to five devices that do social media better than a TV," he concluded.
Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics
industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.
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