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Free is much more important than

social

There is no doubt about it: more people are viewing television on the Internet.  According to comScore, watching TV online became a mainstream activity in the United States in 2010 when the video audience grew by 32%, and the total time spent watching increased by 12%.  This means that in the month of December last year, an average American watched 14 hours of video online.  And that time will certainly increase as more people watch TV via “connected TVs”.  Driving this change in behaviour is the simple fact that more professionally produced TV content is now available to view online.  So much so that increasing numbers of people are becoming “cord cutters”, that is, they migrate from watching content on a TV set and begin watching TV entirely online.  This is predicted to transform the television industry, especially the world of TV advertising which funds the production of the majority of the programmes that are produced.  It’s interesting that many television industry experts expect that soon the prime use of a “connected TV” will be TV watching combined with the use of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.  This goes by the generic term “social TV”.  These TV industry analysts also anticipate that ever more TV programming will be viewed from mobile tablet devices like Apple’s iPad. The data used for this chart comes from a Cable & Telecommunications Association (CTAM) study carried out by Nielsen in the United States and released in August.  It shows that when it comes to accessing online video using mobile devices the greatest US consumer concern is that the service is provided free or at a very low cost.  So, faced with a list of attributes from which to choose, “social interaction” was noticeable as being rated as of the least concern by consumers – confounding the expectations of the TV experts. Talking of experts, one might expect the United States to be leading the world in online TV viewing, but US cable providers are only now beginning to understand what’s happening, and getting in on the act, for example Turner Broadcasting have now got TV Everywhere.  It’s the United Kingdom that’s setting the trend.  For several years now UK citizens have been able to access “catch-up TV and radio” via the BBC’s iPlayer.  Over several iterations of the software, people have grown accustomed to being able to either stream or download and then view high quality images from a large number of TV programs.  In fact, using the iPlayer in the UK is so popular that by way of comparison for the same month, December 2010, there were 145 million requests for programmes to be streamed or downloaded.  Part of this success is obviously due to the BBC’s iPlayer being available on a wide range of devices.  It already works on over 300 connected TV & Blu-Ray players and that number of devices continues to grow. Only last July the BBC iPlayer became available to use on Playstation 3 games consoles in the UK and work is continuing on adapting the iPlayer for a range of other set top boxes.  As well as this level of accessibility, another major contributing factor to the success of the iPlayer is that online access to the service is free within the UK. In September the iPlayer service became available for international visitors who have an Apple iPad, the premier mobile device, as BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC) rolled out the service to 11 European countries. This has to represent one of the best value subscriptions for the Apple iPad as the cost works out at just £44 per year and this provides access to many of the thousands of high quality programs and films that the BBC transmits or, indeed, has transmitted.  The one limitation affecting those outside the UK is that they have no option to download the program and view offline – the content is only available for streaming when online.  Despite this, however, international subscribers get a really good deal including access to a range of older programs that are not available to people living in the UK.  The BBC is funded by a license, costing £145.50 per year, which must be paid by anybody within the UK who owns a TV set.  Most of these TV license payers are not aware that international iPlayer subscribers get access to some older BBC programs that they cannot access themselves.  It seems highly likely that as this becomes more widely known, the BBC will be forced to provide the same content to UK TV License payers. On the basis of the data from this chart BBC Worldwide appears to have made a good pricing decision:  The subscription for the iPlayer service for Europeans equates to a very reasonable 50 euros per year. If this ever gets rolled out globally that cost would be around $68 in the US.  At that rate, international consumers who can understand English will surely value the iPlayer very highly compared to any other mobile video services.  As this Nielsen research clearly shows, the attributes that US consumers consider very important are already available today using the BBC iPlayer software and as this article indicates those consumers are more likely to be using as hardware an Apple iPad. October 2011
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Free is much more

important than social

There is no doubt about it: more people are viewing television on the Internet.  According to comScore, watching TV online became a mainstream activity in the United States in 2010 when the video audience grew by 32%, and the total time spent watching increased by 12%.  This means that in the month of December last year, an average American watched 14 hours of video online.  And that time will certainly increase as more people watch TV via “connected TVs”.  Driving this change in behaviour is the simple fact that more professionally produced TV content is now available to view online.  So much so that increasing numbers of people are becoming “cord cutters”, that is, they migrate from watching content on a TV set and begin watching TV entirely online.  This is predicted to transform the television industry, especially the world of TV advertising which funds the production of the majority of the programmes that are produced.  It’s interesting that many television industry experts expect that soon the prime use of a “connected TV” will be TV watching combined with the use of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.  This goes by the generic term “social TV”.  These TV industry analysts also anticipate that ever more TV programming will be viewed from mobile tablet devices like Apple’s iPad. The data used for this chart comes from a Cable & Telecommunications Association (CTAM) study carried out by Nielsen in the United States and released in August.  It shows that when it comes to accessing online video using mobile devices the greatest US consumer concern is that the service is provided free or at a very low cost.  So, faced with a list of attributes from which to choose, “social interaction” was noticeable as being rated as of the least concern by consumers – confounding the expectations of the TV experts. Talking of experts, one might expect the United States to be leading the world in online TV viewing, but US cable providers are only now beginning to understand what’s happening, and getting in on the act, for example Turner Broadcasting have now got TV Everywhere It’s the United Kingdom that’s setting the trend.  For several years now UK citizens have been able to access “catch-up TV and radio” via the BBC’s iPlayer.  Over several iterations of the software, people have grown accustomed to being able to either stream or download and then view high quality images from a large number of TV programs.  In fact, using the iPlayer in the UK is so popular that by way of comparison for the same month, December 2010, there were 145 million requests for programmes to be streamed or downloaded.  Part of this success is obviously due to the BBC’s iPlayer being available on a wide range of devices.  It already works on over 300 connected TV & Blu-Ray players and that number of devices continues to grow. Only last July the BBC iPlayer became available to use on Playstation 3 games consoles in the UK and work is continuing on adapting the iPlayer for a range of other set top boxes.  As well as this level of accessibility, another major contributing factor to the success of the iPlayer is that online access to the service is free within the UK. In September the iPlayer service became available for international visitors who have an Apple iPad, the premier mobile device, as BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC) rolled out the service to 11 European countries. This has to represent one of the best value subscriptions for the Apple iPad as the cost works out at just £44 per year and this provides access to many of the thousands of high quality programs and films that the BBC transmits or, indeed, has transmitted.  The one limitation affecting those outside the UK is that they have no option to download the program and view offline – the content is only available for streaming when online.  Despite this, however, international subscribers get a really good deal including access to a range of older programs that are not available to people living in the UK.  The BBC is funded by a license, costing £145.50 per year, which must be paid by anybody within the UK who owns a TV set.  Most of these TV license payers are not aware that international iPlayer subscribers get access to some older BBC programs that they cannot access themselves.  It seems highly likely that as this becomes more widely known, the BBC will be forced to provide the same content to UK TV License payers. On the basis of the data from this chart BBC Worldwide appears to have made a good pricing decision:  The subscription for the iPlayer service for Europeans equates to a very reasonable 50 euros per year. If this ever gets rolled out globally that cost would be around $68 in the US.  At that rate, international consumers who can understand English will surely value the iPlayer very highly compared to any other mobile video services.  As this Nielsen research clearly shows, the attributes that US consumers consider very important are already available today using the BBC iPlayer software and as this article indicates those consumers are more likely to be using as hardware an Apple iPad. October 2011
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