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Thumbs up Fast broadband 'will not boost online TV' - 11-August-2009, 03:10

Fast broadband 'will not boost online TV'

Monday, August 10 2009,

The growing availability of faster broadband connections in the UK will not act as the catalyst for an increase in online TV usage, a new report has claimed.

According to a Deloitte and YouGov survey of 2,123 TV viewers, 53% of respondents indicated that they would not watch more online programming or video even if they had access to a faster or more reliable broadband line.

In the poll, commissioned on behalf of the Edinburgh International Television Festival, 29% of people felt that there was scant importance in having the option to watch TV online. This was despite the fact that 54% admitted to surfing the internet while watching TV, with 81% accessing personal emails while viewing programmes.

Despite younger audiences being more likely to view TV online, 43% of 18 to 24-year-olds said that access to faster broadband speeds would not result in them watching more online TV. The primary reasons for this was due to problems locating or accessing content on the internet.

Among those who did actively access TV over the internet, 71% did so to catch up on programming that they missed on main television. The most viewed online video clips were news and comedy (both with 34%), followed by music (30%), factual clips (23%) and sport (23%). The least viewed videos were reality TV and factual entertainment with just 7% of the vote.

Deloitte media and telecoms partner James Bates said: "Stimulating investment in a next generation broadband infrastructure for Britain has been at the heart of the Digital Britain debate.

"However, as this survey shows, making high-speed broadband access widely available to consumers is no guarantee that it will be taken up. Demand and willingness to pay for services varies significantly, and there is little evidence that the mass market is prepared to pay substantially more for it."

In the survey, it was also revealed that online video usage is predominantly associated with the major public service broadcasters. The majority of respondents (83%) were aware of PSB's on-demand sites, such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD, which was greater than YouTube (76%) or iTunes (64%).

Bates added: "One of the strongest advocates for online television may well be traditional television companies. In an ironic twist to earlier expectations, broadcasters and independent producers may, in the medium-term, be those that benefit most from online television.

"Broadcasters may increasingly use online television to support their core, traditional objective of maximising broadcast audience size and quality. Online clips, distributed via their own websites as well as third party platforms, are likely to be used to spark interest in their shows. Online catch-up can enable viewers that missed a broadcast episode to keep up with a storyline and remain interested in a series."

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