Pursuing OTT Video Opportunities is Tricky When Market Keeps Shifting

By Joan Engebretson April 11, 2013

Over-the-top video viewing continues to climb, but end users still haven’t settled on the best way to consume it. That’s a key takeaway from Accenture’s Video-Over-Internet Consumer Survey released this month – and it means there could still be opportunity for various stakeholders, including traditional video service providers and telco/broadband service providers.

One of Accenture’s findings that best illustrates the volatility of the OTT video market is consumers’ response to a question asking what type of company they would trust most to offer video over the Internet service on a TV screen. More than half (53 percent) said “traditional TV broadcaster” – a group that apparently included cable TV providers. That’s a big increase from last year, when less than a third (32 percent) of respondents chose the traditional TV providers and the number one answer, chosen by 43 percent, was “telecom/ISP/broadband company.”

That category – chosen by only 29 percent of respondents – fell to second place this year, while 12 percent said they were most likely to trust a “brand new Internet brand/ company.” That number was unchanged from last year.

And just 5 percent chose a “TV or gaming console manufacturer,” down from 13 percent last year.

Respondents to Accenture’s survey were from six developed countries – including the U.S., Brazil, France, Italy, Spain and the U.K.  And cable/ broadcasters’ gain against the telecom/ ISP/ broadband companies was a pattern seen in all six countries.

Over the last year or so, we’ve seen video service providers increasingly offering customers the ability to access their subscription content over the Internet on a variety of devices, and it’s possible that the video providers gained some consumer trust as potential deliverers of Internet video as a result. I wouldn’t count out the telecom/ISP/broadband companies yet, however – especially considering that the lines between the two types of companies often are blurred, with some telcos also offering subscription video services.

There’s potentially a lot at stake moving forward, as the Accenture survey also shows. The majority of consumers (62 percent) said they were willing to pay for a monthly subscription to access video content over the Internet. And just over half of consumers (53 percent) said they would value receiving all video services from a single provider offering fully integrated services.

“Fully integrated” was defined as having a single content catalog and a single bill.

Second-screen surprise

At the same time that OTT video may be a bigger opportunity for traditional cable and broadband providers than some might initially have expected, the Accenture research suggests a more recently touted opportunity may not be quite as big as some people may have assumed.

There’s been a lot of talk over the last year or so about the “second screen” – and the great opportunities posed by consumers’ growing tendency to use their computer, tablet or smartphone while watching TV. Like some other researchers, Accenture found that multitasking is indeed on the rise, but with an important caveat.

More than three quarters (77 percent) of respondents said they use a computer or laptop while watching TV, with 68 percent saying they watch TV while using a mobile or smartphone and 44 percent saying they do so while using a tablet. But that doesn’t mean what they’re doing with those devices is related to their TV viewing.

What Accenture found was that users of all of these devices are most likely to be using them for activities “unrelated to TV content.”

Close to half (43 percent) of respondents use laptops for unrelated activities while watching TV, compared to 37 percent who use them to search for content on the TV and 29 percent who use them for social media activities about the programs.

And for smartphones, those numbers were 38 percent, 21 percent and 23 percent, respectively, while for tablets they were 17 percent, 14 percent and 14 percent.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunities for companies that can develop some compelling second-screen apps or content. But the Accenture data offers an important reality check for those who may have gotten a bit too caught up in the hype.

Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Editor

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