TV is alive and kicking in Europe

New media struggles to pick up speed

European consumers may be embracing new video platforms, but the staying power of traditional TV should not be underestimated, according to a report commissioned by Liberty Global.

In the report, consultancy Bain & Co. predicts that the European video content market, now worth around $170 billion a year, will grow by 4%-6% until 2012. However, it suggests that only a fifth of viewing will be on-demand and offers reasons why TV as we know it will continue to dominate audience behavior. These include the following:

  • TV watching is a “lean back” medium, whereas the Net is a “lean forward” medium, and there is little evidence that Web usage is cannibalizing TV viewing, currently at about 3.4 hours a day and still growing in most Euro markets.

  • While high-definition TVs and digital video recorders are improving the experience of watching conventional TV, it will take time for the quality of VOD and IPTV to catch up.

  • Young folk are driving the use of new media, but most changes won’t be felt for 10-15 years as demographic shifts filter through.

  • Content creators are unlikely to promote new-media platforms at the expense of traditional TV.

However, the study, “The Digital Video Consumer, Transforming the European Video Content Market,” warns the industry that it must adapt its business models to take account of the digital evolution or risk decline.

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