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Pay TV and tablet ownership: how many people really want TV anywhere?

The question here is not whether owners of tablets are more likely to have a paid for television subscription, but rather how many of those tablet owners are ready and willing to include their tablets to their subscription service? In other words how many tablet owners really want “TV Anywhere”?

Across the world there are Pay TV channels who have pushed their development might behind the tablet or smartphone with the opinion that users will want to consume their TV on the move as they do with other platforms like social media and email. But is the logic employed by the Pay TV services slightly flawed?

The following eMarketer graph shows that a palfrey 1.3% of Pay TV subscribers are looking at switching to an online app or rental model; while the majority of subscribers are not looking at making any moves whatsoever.

Pay TV graph 1

What this graph does not tell us however is how many of the subscribers who are not changing their provider will be making use of a mobile offering as well as their current television based viewing.

For that we need to look at the following graph:

Pay TV graph 2

Sixty percent of subscribers have not even downloaded their providers application; while a further 13% are not even sure if there is an app or not.

This points to one of two possible scenarios:

  1. The PayTV companies have not done enough to market their app offering
  2. There is no real want / need from subscribers to move to a mobile viewing platform.

The thing that needs to be clearly defined when looking at this concept is that the tablet will not become the primary viewing device for subscribers. It is going to always be a substitute device for when they are not at home and want to check a sport score; or they are in the car and their offspring wants to watch Barney the Dinosaur.

The concept of TV everywhere has the opportunity to infiltrate our lives in a very big way; but there are a few things that potentially need to change in the content which is provided to a mobile device.

1. Content length

Now I am not sure how you feel about this; but after a while my iPad starts to get heavy; my fingers start cramping and no matter which cover I have, the angles that it provides are always a few degrees out to view the device 100% perfectly! To that end; content cannot, for the most part, simply be duplicated on a mobile device as the length of that content may be too long for the user to stay entertained (read comfortable).

2. On demand

Mobile specific content needs to be on-demand as my mobile device usage patterns are generally sporadic and do not necessarily follow a fixed pattern. If I’m a public transport commuter; this is slightly different; but for the most part the reason why Pay TV has made such a big difference in my life is because I can record and play back what I want to watch when I want to watch it. The mobile content needs to be able to have this as a base layer and then add “where I want to watch it” as a compelling reason to use the service.

What the content providers need to work out is at what cost will their subscribers be willing to add their mobile content subscription to their existing one for the convenience or everywhere TV as well as for specifically designed and packaged content.

I personally think that tablet specific TV is a definite bold play for Pay TV in the future; it just all depends on how it integrates with or augments our lives.

Author | Jonathan Houston

Jonathan Houston
Jonathan Houston is passionate about digital marketing and digital strategy. During the day, Jonathan is the Head of Digital Marketing for HKLM. Jonathan's work at HKLM includes strategy conceptualization, focusing on the alignment of digital marketing to business strategy as well as assisting HKLM's clients on fulfilling their digital... More
  • Lungile Sojini

    PayTV channels should look at this question more than anybody reading this, Jonathan.

    What they should do is team up with tablet makers so their apps can be on the tablets so that buyers don’t have to earch for the apps to download them themselves.

    Just like my Blaupunkt tablet, it came along with Aldiko, a book reading app.All I have to do is do is download the ebooks.

    Imagine if DSTV had its own app pre-installed on my Blaupunkt. I’d be watching Supersport now.

  • Insights from N America – Mobile TV demand low – education in the marketplace key. We still need to factor lifestyle & behaviour. This may take longer to change – demand may be enticed over time with appropriate offerings.

  • Thanks for the comment Lorna. I have to agree with you that education is really important. However you can’t educate someone in to liking something which is why I believe your second point is more important – lifestyle and behaviour are what will drive how much this concept is adopted.

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