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Faster UK Broadband ISP Speeds Will Not Boost Internet TV Viewing

Posted: 11th Aug, 2009 By: MarkJ
The latest Deloitte and YouGov research, which was commissioned by the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival and conducted with 2,123 viewers, has revealed that faster broadband will not be the catalyst for Internet TV viewing. Over half (53%) said they would not watch more online video clips or TV even with a faster and more reliable connection.

As many as 54% of viewers polled surf the Internet while watching television with 74% of 18–24-year-olds multi-tasking compared with 40% of 55+. Some 81% of viewers use personal emails while watching TV. However 29% felt there was little importance in being able to watch television by using an online service.

Younger audiences are more likely to watch TV online but a surprisingly high percentage (43%) of 18-24-year-olds said they would not watch more TV online with faster speeds. Most viewers found online content too difficult to access or did not know how. A large proportion (71%) of those who sometimes watch television via the Internet do so to catch up on programmes they’ve missed.

James Bates, Media & Telecoms Partner at Deloitte said:

"Stimulating investment in a next generation broadband infrastructure for Britain has been at the heart of the Digital Britain debate. However, as this survey shows, making high-speed broadband access widely available to consumers is no guarantee that it will be taken up. Demand and willingness to pay for services varies significantly, and there is little evidence that the mass market is prepared to pay substantially more for it.

One of the strongest advocates for online television may well be traditional television companies. In an ironic twist to earlier expectations, broadcasters and independent producers may, in the medium-term, be those that benefit most from online television. Broadcasters may increasingly use online television to support their core, traditional objective of maximising broadcast audience size and quality.

Online clips, distributed via their own websites as well as third party platforms, are likely to be used to spark interest in their shows. Online catch-up can enable viewers that missed a broadcast episode to keep up with a storyline and remain interested in a series."

The results are interesting, though we recall how similar surveys in the past were also unable to predict the now obvious demand for services such as YouTube and the BBC's iPlayer . It is a somewhat chicken and the egg situation, where the technology must first exist before consumers adapt to making the most of it.

The most popular online video genres were news and comedy, which gained 34% of the vote each. This was followed by music (30%), documentaries/factual (23%) and sports (23%). We note that the least popular clips came from reality TV shows and factual entertainment, which were both watched by 7% each.
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