TV, or no TV: trends in digital media market

Based on a new survey published by Deloitte on digital media use, three trends in the digital media market are highlighted and discussed.

Old TV digital picture frame, Jonas’ Design (flikr)

On 26 March, global analyst firm, Deloitte, released its eighth edition of the “Digital Democracy Survey” (formally the “State of the Media Democracy” survey). For this year’s exercise, over 2,000 persons, aged 14 years and older, were canvassed in the United States, and according to Deloitte, revealed

…significant technology, media and telecommunications consumption trends, including attitudes and behavior toward advertising and social networks, mobile technologies, the Internet and consumption preferences across platforms and devices.

Deloitte - us_tmt_digitalomnivoreinfographicOne of the trends that has been receiving considerable attention is that the “Trailing Millennials”, i.e. those between 14 and 24 years of age, spend more time – 56% – watching movies and TV shows on computing devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, than they do on an actual television set (44%). For all older age groups, more time was spent watching movies and TV shows on a television, which ranged from 53%, for those between 25 and 30, to over 90% for persons 67 years and older.

These findings are consistent with earlier reports, such as those published by ComScore in 2011, and points to some significant changes that are occurring among consumers. Here highlight three trends and briefly discuss their implication.

The rise of the digital omnivore

Without a doubt, the term, “digital omnivore”, is relatively new, but it speaks to a person who owns a range of consumer device, specifically a laptop, tablet PC and smartphone, and is comfortable using all three technologies. Generally, firms are excited by digital omnivores, as not only do they tend to be early adopters of technology, how they use those devices is a major influence on the trends and developments that are taking place in the market. Results from the newly released Deloitte study indicated that

… over one third (37 percent) of U.S. consumers are now digital omnivores, a 42 percent growth over the previous year. This growth is primarily driven by continued tablet adoption (33 percent increase) and, to a lesser extent, smartphone ownership (18 percent increase). Moreover, women, who made up over one-third (35 percent) of omnivores two years ago, now account for 45 percent of this group.

The take up of tablets and smartphones is occurring globally. Hence most countries, including those in the Caribbean, would have a growing digital omnivore segment, whose consumption of digital media market, and perhaps specifically the manner in which it is consumed, ought to be influencing local device vendors and service providers, and the strategies they adopt.

The importance of mobile

The worldwide proliferation of smartphones and tablets is having an impact on global Internet networks. According to Walker Sands Communications, a US-based PR and social marketing agency, mobile Internet traffic in Q4 2013 accounted for approximately 31% of all Internet traffic, an increase of about 35% from the previous year (Source: Internet Retailer). However, when the versatility and feature-rich capability of today’s portable devices are also considered, their impact on global Internet networks is likely to increase, especially as devices and bandwidth become more affordable.

Growing emphasis on cross platform consumption

From a tech perspective, gone are the days of the single function devices. For example, a mobile/cellular phone is not used just to make calls. Increasingly, even the simplest and cheapest devices are including Internet browsing capabilities. Hence on your typical smartphone, users can browse the Internet, stream video content, play games, use a multitude of applications, and make calls.

Interestingly, this multifunction device phenomenon is also being mimicked in our behaviour, which according to Deloitte is on the rise:

… U.S. consumers continue to be more distracted while watching home TVs, with 86 percent multitasking, up from 72 percent in 2011. Millennials [persons 25—30 years old] are the most active multitaskers, engaging in an average of four activities while watching TV. Gen-Xers and boomers are also multitasking more, with both generations engaging in more than one additional activity in 2013 while watching TV.

Hence in the short to medium term, we may see a more seamless transition (or continuity) when switching between devices whilst using a particular application or technology. For example, if someone was streaming video on a laptop, but then decided to continue watching it on his/her smartphone, the video would resume on the smartphone where it was paused on the laptop, rather than starting from the beginning.

In summary, consumer behaviour is changing, and the younger generation of users is having a considerable influence on the products and services that are being developed. Consequently, there is a growing appetite for even more digital content, especially video, and the devices (especially mobile and portable devices), must adapt to the lives and lifestyles of users. As a result, there is likely to be a huge opportunity to develop highly customisable programmes to capitalise on changing consumer behaviour and help users maximise their time in meaningful ways.


Image credit:  Jonas’ Design / flickr;  infographic / Deloitte


1 Comment

  • I would add that the shift to digital television broadcasting could well have contributed to ( or at the very least smoothened ) the migration over to mobile device of TV viewing.

    With the rise in free “On Demand TV”, ie online viewing of past TV programmes and episodes, who needs the inflexible and cumbersome TV set!

    In any event, the medium of content consumption is rapidly shifting: Marketers out there, hearken….

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