UK connected TV owners failing to make the Web connection

Joseph O'Halloran | 21-05-2013

A lack of “conscious desire” is holding back smart TV use in the UK according to the latest Connected TV Track report from YouGov.

Despite finding what it says is a “huge desire” among UK connected TV owners to receive content and services through television, the research found that smart TVs trail laptops, desktops and set-top boxes when it comes to connecting to the Internet.
Indeed, YouGov found that even though half (50%) of consumers like the idea of accessing online content through their televisions, and 13% of the population owned a smart TV in Q1 2013, fewer than half this number (6%) are currently using one of the devices as their primary means of accessing online content.
YouGov found that instead UK consumers are more inclined to connect to the Web with laptops (24%) and desktop computers (12%). Furthermore, the research shows that over a fifth (23%) of people now use set-top boxes as their main way of accessing the Internet on their televisions, with BSkyB dominating as 12% used a Sky+ box to connect their TV to the Internet most often. This was followed by Virgin Media (6%), Freeview (3%) and BT Vision (2%).
Amongst on-demand viewers, well over a third (37%) prefer to watch through a set-top box whether across satellite, cable and IPTV platforms, while fewer than one in ten (7%) watch this content directly through a smart TV.
Analysing trends from the data, YouGov says that with smart TVs not being used to their full potential at present, opportunities exist for manufacturers that can increase awareness of the device’s full capabilities and encourage consumers to use them.
Yet YouGov cautions that the main challenge for manufacturers is that the device’s capabilities are not currently the main motivation of purchase. It found that over half of smart TV sales (51%) are down to the purchaser wanting an up-to-date TV and a quarter (25%) because their old set was broken. Furthermore, just over one in five (22%) got a smart TV because they wanted to connect to the Internet through a television and fewer than half (47%) of smart TV owners currently use the set to go online on a weekly basis.
“People increasingly want to go view on-demand and other Internet-delivered services on the big screen,” commented Dan Brilot, media consulting director at YouGov. “However, this trend has yet to be harnessed by the smart TV manufacturers as consumers show no real conscious desire to use their sets to connect to the Web as regularly as they do on other devices. At the moment, consumers see getting online through their televisions either as a job for their TV provider or as an extension of their existing online devices.
“Given sales of smart TVs are increasing at a healthy rate, there is a real opportunity for manufacturers with regard to selling additional services such as apps that would provide them with increased revenue. Many people who buy smart TVs seem to be largely unaware of the capabilities and opportunities offered by the devices. For TV manufacturers to gain traction in this area they need to showcase what their devices are capable of and offer them up as offering something distinct from both set-top boxes and other pieces of Internet-connected kit.”