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Online television viewing on the rise, KPMG survey discovers

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 23, 2012 | 3 min read

Online streamed television is becoming more mainstream in the UK following the rise of broadcaster’s such as BBC, ITV and Channel 4’s ‘play again’ services, with 64% of respondents to research by KPMG, saying that they would pay to watch movies online.

According to the latest KPMG Media & Entertainment Barometer, the introduction of BBC iPlayer, ITV iPlayer and 4oD has grown online television audiences, with the BBC service found to have the highest profile, followed by services from ITV and LOVEFiLM.

The survey, conducted twice a year, has found that interest in online streaming has grown, with a desire for pay-for-TV growing from 27% in September 2010, to 30% in October 2011.

44% of those who responded to the survey, which samples 2177 people over the age of 16 in the UK, said that they owned a smartphone as their main phone, a growth from 36% in six months. Over three quarters (78%) said that they used their smartphones to browse the internet, which 67% added that they also use them for social networking.

The average spend on smartphone and tablet apps had also risen, with eBooks the main investment area, with an average spend on downloaded for smartphones up to £6.97 from £5.65 six months ago, while on tablet apps it had increased from £8.87 to £10.78 in the same period-of-time.

Use of traditional media also appeared to continue to deliver, with the exception of television, as more than half of respondents (55%) said that they read online newspapers in the last month (rising from 40% six months ago), while 14% has read digital books (in comparison with 8% last year).

David Elms, Head of Media at KPMG comments: “Judging by our survey it seems that new entrants into the UK market have got their timing right. The foundations for online streaming services to be successful appear to be set. Not only is awareness and usage of streaming high, but willingness to pay for content has increased too. There are, however, barriers, not least the likely cost of set top boxes. What is more, by the end of 2012, everyone in the UK will have digital terrestrial TV, with the choice of between 20 and 30 channels. That’s a lot of free TV. It is possible that the majority of TV households don’t actually need anything more.”

Elms added: “We continue to see mobile media as an attractive means to monetise content, given the continuing rise in the uptake of smartphones, tablets and eReaders. Whilst consumers continue to embrace new media at a rapid pace, a “mixed ecology” persists, with a majority still enjoying traditional media such as reading books or watching TV.”

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