Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 28-09-2011

The iPad revolution has not just opened up an appetite to consume digital content: it’s also unearthed a rich seam of business ready to be tapped.

A new FTI Consulting survey, “The Effect of Tablets on U.S. Content Consumption”, suggests that well-formulated digital media strategies may offer new revenue prospects to traditional media.

The survey compared the digital media consumption habits of people who own tablets—such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom — against those individuals who use only smartphones, laptops or desktops and showed that fundamentally tablet ownership clearly affects the ways in which individuals consume video among other media.

In what could shape the formulations of operators, the study showed that tablet users of all ages are significantly more likely to upgrade their cable TV or satellite subscriptions compared with non-tablet users. Furthermore, three in ten tablet users aged 18–24 and 31% of tablet users who earn between $100,000 and $149,000 upgraded their pay-TV or satellite TV subscriptions in order to be able to access increased programming through their tablet.

More significantly in terms of specific content offerings, 70% of tablet users who earn between $50,000 and $74,000 and four-fifths of tablet users between the ages of 18–24 years purchase movies on DVD/Blu-ray/VHS or other physical formats and also consume online video.

Even though the report revealed that more than half of respondents have not changed their behaviour regarding purchases and rentals of movies because of online access, it also showed that roughly a third have stopped or reduced their theatre going, DVD purchases and/or rentals. The feature most worth paying for among all age groups is recently shown content.

"Tablets offer an important new front to woo consumers who already have shown a willingness to consume and pay for content. While tablet devices are not the panacea for the ills of the consumer entertainment and news media industries, these devices clearly can provide a valuable and viable boost for revenue-challenged content production and media companies," said Bruce Benson, a Senior Managing Director and Global Leader of Communications, Media and Entertainment Solutions at FTI Consulting.

"Tablets must be understood for the potential they offer. A key element in stemming the decline of traditional revenue streams and monetising digital revenue is to focus on what tablet users consume and want to consume and to provide that content to them with a reasonable value proposition."