A recent study by BARB shows that viewing television through a computer, laptop or mobile device seems to be slowing and looks like it has hit a plateau. Last year about 14% of people claimed to have watched TV on the internet on at least one of these platforms vs. 15% this year. Personally, I don’t think this really comes as any surprise. Why would you choose to watch your favourite programmes on a 17” laptop screen or a tablet when you have a nice, shiny 40” TV set in the lounge?
With PVR penetration at 50% of households it also gives people the flexibility to watch their favourite programmes when they want. What is going to be interesting over the coming years is the number of people watching television through the internet on that nice 40” screen. With the likes of LOVEFiLM and iPlayer now available on games consoles, and Netflix launching this week and also available via games consoles, there will be more and more opportunity for the consumer to view internet TV through their main television set. Smart TV is still a little way off for most, with only 10% of Brits owning one and 4% claiming they’ll buy one in the next 12 months, but even so this is still 14% of the population who’ll be able to watch iPlayer directly through their television or purchase apps such as HBO Go.
With anything between 49%-55% of households owning a games console, depending on which survey you read, the penetration of people able to watch TV through the internet on their main set is substantial and is only going to grow. The ability to watch all this programming through your main television also begs the question as to whether people will start to turn away from satellite and cable.
For those such as myself, who like to be permanently tuned into sports channels this is unlikely to happen, but for someone who uses satellite or cable for the film channels there are now some seriously tempting offers. On top of your standard Sky subscription you have to pay £16 extra to get the movie channels. Netflix are charging £5.99 a month and for that you get a whole host of films and TV series available to view. OK, so you might not be able to get the brand new series of whatever TV series you fancy, meaning there will still be plenty of people willing to pay to get access to up to date drama, but in this age of economic cut backs the likes of Netflix will become increasingly attractive to those wishing to cut their outgoings but still have access to good and varied programming.