Whether they realize it or not, the main factor that helps consumers to decide on a new television for video device is the ability to connect -- either to the Internet for streaming, or with other members of their family.
According to a study conducted by GfK for the Council for Research Excellence, smart TVs and/or OTT streaming devices were among the top devices selected by households participating in a 50-household qualitative study. (Purchases in the study were monitored by self-reporting, behavior and usage surveys, and follow-up interviews.) Meanwhile, the dominant consideration for these shoppers was the availability of content, whether in the form of streaming, live watching or casting from one device to another.
“It comes back to the tech adoption curve, [and] that ease-of-use is crucial to getting into the market,” Bryon Schafer, who serves as chair of the CRE's Digital Research Committee and is senior vice president, Warner Bros. Media Research & Insights, tells Marketing Daily. “Consumers in the purchase funnel are looking for a better means to an end, and they’re looking for what they want, when they want it.”
Despite the adjustment in consumer preference about access to content, what has not changed is the role that television plays within the household. Once the TVs with OTT access were introduced into a household, they tended to generate a lift in group viewing and the sets remained the dominant video-viewing device, even when other devices were present in the same room, according to the study.
“People are not abandoning [their televisions],” says Laura Cowan, director, analytics and insight at MEC, who led the team conducting the study. “There’s multiple screens to choose from in the home. It’s the use of [of the television] that’s changing.”
Indeed, results from a “longitudinal ethnography” study of 100 households that ran concurrently with the 50-household “acceleration study” found even as consumers have moved to a multi-source, multi-device model for video content a family is likely to watch the main television set early in the evening on weeknights before retreating to separate rooms to watch individualized content on other devices.
The notion of connection — both to the Internet and with other family members — could be a powerful one with consumers as makers of smart TVs and other OTT devices look to increase market share, according to the authors.
“Convenience, control and ease of use trumps better picture and sound every time,” Schafer says.