Connected TV hook-up rates in the United States are lagging behind Europe and emerging markets.
While smart TVs hold great promise for marketers in terms of engaged audiences, that potential will not be realized until more consumers actually connect their sets to the Web. Only 21% of U.S. consumers connect their TVs to the Internet, Magid has said -- and while that’s up from 16% in 2011, it’s still far behind Europe, according to new information from both research firms and technology shops servicing this business.
Digital entertainment technology company Rovi has said that in Germany and Western Europe about 67% to 68% of smart TVs and gaming consoles are connected to the Web, compared to the 25% to 30% connection rates it sees in the U.S., while multiscreen video ad platform smartclip has said that consumers in the United Kingdom and Germany are connecting their sets about 60% of the time.
Why the lag? For starters, European markets are often first to try new technologies from interactive TV to mobile video before an activity catches on in the U.S., so these lag times may be normal. But there’s also the very real issue of whether consumers are buying these connected sets for the Web capabilities or simply because connected TV sets are the latest on the market.
A just-released study from consumer research firm GfK reports that consumers in Western countries and emerging markets are more likely to consider price, screen size and display technology when buying a new set rather than Internet connectivity. But in emerging markets, the interest is much higher in the Web. About 61% of consumers in India and 64% in China said they look for Internet capabilities in new TVs, compared to 26% in the UK and 29% in the U.S., GfK said.
Usage of connected TV features is also much higher in emerging markets. GfK found that three-quarters of smart TV owners in China have used the connected TV features on their TV sets in the past month, compared to half or less in the Western markets.
“We are seeing the developing countries such as India, Brazil and especially China viewing an increasing amount of content away from a television set, but also using TV in a more advanced way,” said Richard Preedy, research director at GfK, in a statement. “They combine viewing a programme with increased levels of online activity -- giving us a glimpse into how the West will start to move in the coming years. China, India and Brazil essentially are the early adopters at the moment. However, in the coming decade, critical mass will be reached in traditional TV markets such as the UK, U.S. and Germany and the way we all watch programming will be changed forever -- finally burying analogue for good.”