UK consumers download audio and video to the living room, but don't want to pay for it

Computers, TVs

A new survey suggests that UK consumers are quite comfortable with downloading and streaming audio and video content from the Net onto their PCs, and an increasing number are doing so in their living rooms.

The Olswang Convergence Consumer Survey 2006 shows that consumers now have a clear preference for full-length feature films and TV programmes instead of shorter clips and trailers as the content they want to watch on a PC.

Nearly 40% of consumers stream AV content onto their computers at home. However, many don’t want to pay for it, which is not surprising as the vast majority of Britain’s TV watchers still receive free terrestrial analogue or digital TV.

49% of consumers who watch streamed or downloaded content do so in the living room, though some are still put off because they like watching TV the old fashioned way.

Perhaps new devices such as Apple’s iTV and Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, shifting content from a PC or console to the regular home TV, will help to change that perception, as and when we see them in the UK.

The survey also showed that consumers like control over their viewing. This makes services such as Video On Demand (VOD) popular, as well as the Sky+ service, and PVRs.

That will be good news for not only Sky, but BT, ntl:Telewest, HomeChoice, and other providers either currently or about to offer such services.

However, multitasking is also becoming more popular, with 46% of respondents are emailing and 43% surfing the net at the same time as watching television, and the incidence of multi-tasking is markedly higher amongst those whose computer is in the living room.

So, it seems that we’re a nation happy to get into new technology to get our TV and movie fix, but we’d like to pay as little as possible, and avoid the ads whenever possible.

Andy Merrett
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