Caught in the web

Drama and comedy content have the last laugh on web TV.
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Online audiences cool on sports and entertainment as drama and comedy have the last laugh on web TV

A new study in Great Britain has found online TV services are unlikely to benefit greatly from increasing broadband speeds.

The report by Deloitte and YouGov found that more than half of those surveyed would not be encouraged to watch more online TV if they had access to faster and more reliable internet services.

The study also revealed that only seven percent of those polled had connected their main TV receiver to the internet. Perhaps more worrying is that of the 93 percent who had not done so, only one third said that they would use internet based services if it were. This is despite high levels of awareness of the various legal (and illegal) online video sources available.

Broadcaster-owned platforms achieved 83 percent awareness with short format streaming services such as YouTube not far behind on 76 percent. The actual usage rates of these two services lagged the awareness levels very slightly, at 81 and 67 percent respectively.

“Stimulating investment in a next generation broadband infrastructure for Britain has been at the heart of the Digital Britain debate,” said James Bates, Media & Telecoms Partner at Deloitte. “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, 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 mostly from online television,” added Bates.

“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.”

TV viewing away from the traditional TV set is also polarised by age. Less than half as many 45-54 year-olds polled watched television content on their PCs compared to the 18-24 year-old group.

Forty-seven percent of those 45-54 year-olds only watch programming on a traditional set with only 16 percent of 18-24 year-olds snubbing advanced platforms.

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