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Netflix Drives Smart TV Usage In US: Europe Falls Way Behind

by David Mercer | May 14, 2012

The global installed base of smart and connected TVs is set to soar through the 200 million barrier by the end of this year, according to our recent forecast, Global Flat-panel TV and Connected TV Forecast. But it’s been clear for a while that some owners are not using the internet capabilities of these TVs. One of the most frequent questions we get relates to the connectivity rates of connected TVs. Content owners, apps developers and service providers are all keen to know how these new living room technologies are affecting television-related behaviour.

The latest research from our Digital Home Observatory, US & W. Europe Connected TV Owner Survey, gives new insights into this issue. Using the latest wave from our ConsumerMetrix survey, the report finds that there are major differences between the US and European markets. In Europe, nearly half of smart TV owners are not using the connected capabilities of their TV at all: two thirds had never set up the device in the first place, and the remainder had set it up initially but stopped using it. Less than 10% of all European smart TV owners are using the connected capabilities regularly (at least weekly).

In the US, by contrast, we found that nearly a third of all smart TV owners are connecting at least once a week, and by far the most popular application or service is Netflix. In spite of the occasional success story (the BBC’s iPlayer features prominently in our UK sample), most European markets lack a high-profile, well-established OTT video service like Netflix. Netflix itself, of course, is trying to change that, having recently entered some European markets.

Once again our research has demonstrated that what most smart TV owners want is video. If connected TV is to become more widely used manufacturers, content owners and emerging service providers must create compelling video services just as Netflix has done in the US.

David Mercer

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