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October 26, 2010

Convenience, flexibility drive rise of internet TV

Quality still leaves room for improvements

As new Internet TV devices like the Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TV begin to arrive in stores just in time for the holiday shopping season, a new study by leading research firm Radius Global Market Research yields insights into consumer attitudes and usage behind the growing Internet TV segment.

“Internet TV represents one of the largest opportunities for marketers,” says Chip Lister, Managing Director of Radius. “Our survey results show that a sizable number of consumers will increase the amount of time they spend accessing television content over the Internet.”

While survey results revealed relatively high consumer interest in and intent to use devices and software that enable Internet TV viewing, the data also revealed two important issues that may be slowing the rate of consumer adoption.

Unique benefits of Internet TV are not obvious to all consumers

Consumers who currently watch Internet TV say that the flexibility it offers is its key advantage. Most respondents identified the ability to watch programming whenever they wanted as its most valued benefit. Being able to stop, pause, and replay shows also ranked high. A slightly smaller group enjoyed access to content not readily available on regular television.

While advantages may be evident to existing viewers, benefits are not so clear to those not currently watching Internet TV. Nearly two-thirds of these consumers say they do not see a clear benefit to accessing TV content via the Internet.

“Internet TV watchers are responding very favourably to the wide range of unique time- and function-based advantages offered by the devices and software,” says Lister. “From our survey results, however, it’s clear that the industry needs to step up communications about these benefits to consumers who’ve yet to give Internet TV a try.”

Quality of Internet TV experience needs to improve

Half of Radius’ survey audience indicated frustration with the lack of smoothness in streaming or buffering of content. More than 40-percent indicated that their lack of access to higher speed Internet connections kept them from spending more time accessing TV content. Another roughly two-fifths said that the cost of content kept them from downloading more.

“The majority of regular Internet TV watchers are still early adopters who will work to overcome some of the existing technology limitations,” says Lister. “Manufacturers will have to work to eliminate current access hurdles in order for the general population to begin viewing on a regular basis.”

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