Western world slipping behind in smart TV stakes

Joseph O'Halloran | 31-08-2012

Connected TV may be a hot ticket in countries such as the US and UK at present but research by GfK is asserting that people in China, Brazil and India are better placed to exploit the opportunities offered.

The study’s main thrust is that western consumers are stuck in an 'analogue' mindset, whereas viewers in emerging markets are more likely to embrace the digital capabilities of connected TV. By contrast, GfK contends that a far higher proportion of Chinese, Korean and Indian consumers have used the functionalities of Smart TV in the past months, compared to those in Western markets. Indeed its statistics show that in terms of connected TV usage, China already boasts 44% usage and South Korea 18%. By contrast both the UK and US are on 11% with Germany even further behind on 8%.

Viewers in countries such as China, Brazil and India are more motivated by programmes they can interact with, said the analyst offering a basic explanation of the trend. Commented GfK’s Richard Preedy: "Our findings suggest that broadcasters need to integrate their social elements far more engagingly into the fabric of the programme, in order to entice the viewer's interaction."

Yet despite all of this, GfK also identified growing demand for Smart TVs in the West, with sales in the six biggest European countries increasing by 31% in the first half of 2012.

“We are seeing the developing countries such as India, Brazil and especially China viewing an increasing amount of content away from a television set, but also using TV in a more advanced way. They combine viewing a programme with increased levels of online activity – giving us a glimpse into how the West will start to move in the coming years. China, India and Brazil essentially are the early adopters at the moment,” added Preedy "However, in the coming decade, critical mass will be reached in traditional TV markets such as the UK, US and Germany and the way we all watch programming will be changed forever – finally burying analogue for good.”