Smart TV Sales, Over-the-Top Use Grow; Buoyed by Game Consoles & Social Media
Consumers like their choices for cable and satellite alternatives, and they’re also expected to buy more connected TV sets this year. Those are among the findings of a pair of recently released studies tracking the growing over-the-top business. When coupled with upcoming new releases from gaming console makers — the dominant device consumers use when streaming video to the TV — things are looking good for the over-the-top business.
Worldwide shipments for smart TVs should rise 15 percent this year, for a total of 43 million shipped this year, said research firm NPD in its latest forecast. What’s more, nearly 20% of online consumers say online video works for them as a replacement for TV, according to a new study from ABI Research . Multichannel subscriber numbers - which are still hearty - don’t bear that out yet, but the reported consumer sentiment is worth paying attention to as it could mark the start of more cord-shaving. ABI research said that U.S. pay TV penetration is on track to decline about 0.5% each year through 2017. The study also said that the TV is the preferred device for viewing Internet video.
That bodes well for gaming console makers, since consumers usually connect their consoles to the TV. Xbox is slated to add more second screen features through its Smartglass app releasing this week. The app lets users turn their smartphone or tablet into a remote control, and to interact with Xbox entertainment and sports content from companies like HBO and ESPN.
Next month, Nintendo is slated to launch its new game console that will include social TV integration and TV show searches across services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon in its remote control.
Such social features could drive connected TV usage, given that social TV is becoming more common. The Diffusion Group just reported that 38% of US adult broadband users engage in social TV activities at least a few times a year by using smartphones or tablets to socialize while watching TV.