NAB: What consumers really want from IPTV

I’m in my fifties and a lot of the people I interview are within 10 years of my age, so it’s no surprise thatwhen we talk about the future of video services — or any services — our conversations are laden with anecdotes about what our kids are doing. It’s that kind of reasoning by anecdote that lead Accenture to conduct its Global Consumer Broadcast Survey, now in its second year, according to Ross Sonnabend of Accenture.

“Everyone had an idea about what consumers wanted from video services, we wanted to really find out, with a global survey,” Sonnabend said, during an interview on the NAB show floor Monday. What Accenture learned is that consumers are already adopting new technologies and “beginning to form longer lasting opinions” about how they want to consume video going forward, Sonnabend said. “We think our clients should be leveraging that and focusing on what is most important to consumers, and prioritizing those things to get them out quickly. Then they have to continuously improve and listen to consumers to course correct, as needed. People are beginning to understand that there are different value propositions for different types of services.”

For example, consumers used to wait for movies they liked to come out on DVD and buy them, but now those same movies are available on demand or in other formats, such as being downloaded from Netflix, at the same time or very close to when those same movies come out on DVD, Sonnabend said. But few service providers “have figured out how to monetize the switch from selling services to selling content,” he said.

The Accenture survey also shows consumers are intensely loyal to the content they love — think “Lost” or “Heroes” — but they don’t really care as much where they watch it. “They are loyal to ‘Lost,’ not ‘Lost on ABC,’” Sonnabend said.

That kind of thinking opens the door to service providers to work more closely with content creators, not just to deliver the content consumers want but to customize it for specific platforms - TV, PC and mobile device — so that consumers get the experience they want from each device, Sonnabend said.

One of the key things the Accenture study shows is that consumers aren’t all that hot on having content recommended based on their viewing profile, said Matthew Boggie of Accenture. “Profiling isn’t working,” he said. One alternative is to use targeted content advertising based on previous viewing habits, since consumers still pick new content based on ads they see. “Carriers have a treasure trove of information on their customers, and they can use that to work with content creators and market new shows better,” Boggie said. Figuring out how to appropriately blend social media also represents opportunities for service providers, Boggie and Sonnabend agree.

And, oh by the way, don’t forget about us old farts. We’re still behind the curve, but we’re catching up quickly, Boggie said (and he’s still a young guy).

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