Established media, UltraViolet set for successful 2014

Editor | 18-12-2013

In its traditional outlook for the media, technology and telecoms sector in the coming New Year, UK analyst YouGov is predicting four key areas in which the industry will see "notable progressions".

The four key areas are diverse but tellingly are founded upon the increasing prevalence of connected devices. Namely, the analyst expects that by the end of 2014, multiscreen households will more or less be the norm with almost half of households having tablets; established media will stem the current flow of losses and grow; mobile security will be prioritised; and, maybe unexpectedly, 2014 could, if marketers make the right moves, be the year of UltraViolet.

YouGov expects tablets to be pervasive in the UK driven not just by Apple's iPad and its Android rivals but also through cheap, if not fully-functioned, alternatives from supermarket chains Tesco, Aldi and Argos. Indeed YouGov expects that, more than 20 million people are likely to have a tablet after the Christmas festive and sales period.

But a rash of new connected devices capable of connecting to a plethora of video devices does not necessarily mean bad news for established media. Explained YouGov media consulting director Dan Brilot: "The narrative of the past few years has been of the inevitable march of newly created digital brands at the expense of non-digital established media. With seven in ten phone owners (69%) now having smartphones and half (50%) of the UK online population having accessed video-on-demand (VOD) services in the last three months, established media have seen their income challenged in the face of new ways for audiences to consume content. 2014 is the year we anticipate that this will start to change, with established media brands' market share growing – particularly in some sub-sectors such as television and news."

This could also mean good things ahead, at last, for the UltraViolet secure content locker concept which has struggled to take off especially within the mind of consumers. Even though YouGov calculated a sizeable audience aware of the concept, just 13% of people who are aware of it actually know what it does. Yet YouGov said that it saw UltraViolet making inroads in 2013 that could lead to it breaking into the mainstream over the next 12 months.

Said Shaun Austin, director of media: "Research we conducted in the second half of the year shows that almost a fifth (19%) of consumers in the UK were aware of the digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system that allows people to stream and download content to multiple devices. Given the proliferation of smart mobile devices the ability to watch your own TV and movies wherever you want, whenever you want is more important than ever before. To this end, our data show that those who already use UltraViolet see its benefits. Over half (55%) of those who have tried it say they are likely to use the service when they next purchase a physical disc and almost three quarters (72%) of those who are very familiar with the system are likely to use the service again. The implications are clear: people who use the service like it and want to use it again."

To inspire mass take-up of UltraViolet, YouGov urged retailers, digital content providers and the studios to back the service and explain its benefits. "If they follow Tesco and blinkbox's lead then there is potential for the service to become a success. However, further marketing and education are key to this," Austin added.