IPTV Bogeymen: 2 Down, 1 Still Looms
Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore told the TelcoTV audience here that his third annual survey of consumers shows that many of the folks who were watching TV online on a regular basis have actually stopped being regular OTT users, a phenomenon he equated with "Facebook fatigue." His numbers show 34.4 percent of consumers surveyed said they regularly watch OTT video in 2009 while only 18.7 percent said so this year.
The number of hardcore OTT viewers -- those who reported watching often -- was up slightly from about 16 percent to about 19 percent, and that group of consumers is what is driving the OTT trend, Kishore says.
But drilling down even further, he found only 2.8 percent of those surveyed had canceled their paid TV service because of their OTT video habits, with 8.7 percent saying they would eventually cancel paid TV for that reason.
More than half of those surveyed didn't see OTT video as competitive with their paid TV offering, and 17 percent said they would always need paid TV.
"What we found was that three-quarters of consumers don't see OTT as a threat to IPTV," Kishore says. "For the next three to five years, at least, OTT is not really a major concern."
On the privacy issue, a surprising 43 percent were "very willing" to share their personal information with a service provider for the express purpose of getting targeted ads -- in exchange for a $10 monthly discount. There were conditions -- the information could not be shared nor sold.
Almost another 40 percent were "somewhat willing" to share their info to save money and get more focused ads.
"Especially in the United States, there is this bogeyman of privacy concerns," Kishore says, that shows up in Internet blogs and regulatory hearings, but may not be based in reality.
There is a bogeyman looming for IPTV providers that is rooted in research, Kishore admits. His numbers show that fewer consumers are changing video service providers and that one factor -- price -- dominates the decision-making of those who do.
That's bad news for newer service providers because advanced services and fancy features aren't proving to be the lure that many had hoped. The low-hanging fruit -- those thoroughly irritated by their cable provider -- has largely been plucked. Going forward, taking customers from cable and satellite will continue to be hard work that will likely require price cuts -- which is not news any IPTV provider wants to hear. — Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading