“The TV” has been about more than “TV” for many years. Ever since the first video recorders arrived back in the late 1970s, bringing home video to millions of millions of TV sets around the world, TV viewers have been faced with ever-increasing choice in what they watch and when they watch it.
The latest stage in this evolution has been the arrival of internet connectivity to the TV itself and to many of its attached devices. While such products have been around for a few years, it’s only relatively recently that improved bandwidth and usability have allowed people to explore the world of internet video on their big screens.
Our recent survey of nearly 5000 respondents across the US and Europe suggests people are taking to this “connected TV thing” in a big way. Based on the survey’s findings we estimate that 42 million homes across the two regions are now connecting a TV screen to the internet, in some way or other, in order to watch TV shows or movies. This is not a daily activity for most people just yet – this is the number of homes doing this monthly, weekly or daily. But it’s a clear sign that the concept of connected TV is becoming more widely accepted.
Significantly we found much higher usage in the US than in Europe – 20% of US homes are using connected TV compared to 10% of European homes. The Germans are falling some way behind the rest of Europe: only 6% of German homes are using connected TV currently, compared to 12% in both France and Italy – the UK proportion stands at 9%.
New digital service providers such as Netflix and Hulu have seen tremendous progress in the States in the last couple of years as they become available on multiple connected TV devices. Europe has yet to find its own equivalent, although each market can name examples of localised services.
People are still working out the best way to get connected TV content onto their TV set. In the US the games console is leading the way: in Europe the most popular method is to connect a PC to the TV using an HDMI cable. But the majority of connected TV viewers are actually making use of more than one solution. There may be a number of reasons for this: certain content is only available from different devices; or they are using different TV screens at different times.
We are in the early days of the connected TV revolution, but the momentum shows no sign of decline. As Ultraviolet launches and Apple considers its own streaming movie service, this market is set to get a lot more interesting over the next few months.
Client Reading: Multiscreen Connected TV: Assessing Device Usage and Ownership