The growing penetration of smart TVs, gaming consoles and other technology could render over-the-top set-top boxes "obsolete." Still, multichannel TV providers' set-top box data continues to be a key attraction for TV advertisers.
These are some results from One Touch Intelligence (OTI), a Colorado-based market intelligence company, working for the Council for Research Excellence, a Nielsen-funded independent research group created in 2005.
Those OTT set-top boxes -- Apple TV, Boxee, Google TV, Roku, Slingbox for example -- haven't been selling well, and that's not a good trend. The report says: "Given the lackluster sales figures for some of these devices (Boxee and Google TV) and the quickly shifting sands in this market, it’s difficult to see OTT STBs moving ahead of gaming consoles or smart TVs in the minds of consumers."
Right now, the national penetration of new media devices is led by gaming consoles at 56%; DVRs at 44%; Smart TVs and Blu-ray players at a combined 22%; tablets, 14%; and over-the-top (OTT) STBs, 11%.
Another wrinkle could be the rollout of newer “network” DVRs by multichannel TV providers, where DVR storage is transferred from a set-top box to the "cloud."
"It would not only boost smart TV penetration, but also would drive DVR penetration from its current level of 44% to effectively match the same penetration as digital set-tops," the report notes.
One of the main goals of CRE is advancing audience measurement methodology, including usage and viewing of new media devices. Set-top boxes are virtually omnipresent among all multi-TV channel providers, representing about 90% of U.S. TV homes.
Patricia Liguori, senior vice president of research and electronic measurement of the ABC Owned Television Stations and chair of the CRE’s Return Path Measurement Committee, stated: “Both the buy and sell sides have the expectation, and rightly so, that all devices on which tuning occurs -- not just traditional television sets -- be measured and ultimately used as ratings currency."