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Watching content on mobile devices has made TV 'barely recognisable' - analyst

Thursday, April 30th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The popularity of smartphones and tablets has made TV “barely recognisable” from the days when there was only linear television.

Ismail Patel, a TV analyst for global research firm Ovum, said change was being driven by a generation of young people used to watching content on a range of devices.

He was talking after the second day of the TV Connect conference in London, at which Google said handheld devices should not be considered ‘second screens' but rather “screens providing a different, alternative experience”.

Mr Patel said millennials – those born after the turn of the millennium – were often identified as a key segment by TV Connect attendees.

He said millennials “do not know a world without smartphones and the internet, and do not afford an arbitrary priority to the big screen in the corner of the room over the tablet or smartphone device in their hands”.

“It is the behaviour of these millennials that will eventually become the mainstream,” he said.

“Especially as this generation grows older and acquires more spending power – broadcasters and online TV providers need to continue to react to this.”

Mr Patel said TV “is not dead, but has evolved to such an extent that it is now barely recognisable from the days where linear TV was the only game in town”.

He said it is important for TV providers to adapt to viewer behaviour or risk getting left behind.

3DTV is dead

Another popular subject at TV Connect, said Mr Patel, is the move towards 4K television.

He said the shift towards the technology is gathering pace, with 4K channels being launched across Europe and the Far East.

“As one would expect, the TV Connect exhibition floor is populated with multiple vendors showcasing their 4K capabilities,” he said.

“As more is invested in 4K by broadcasters and manufacturers, the technology, sets, and services will become more affordable and I believe this will promote a pace of growth similar to that experienced by HD over the last five years.”

Mr Patel said his positive viewpoint was informed by Ovum’s own research, which shows that some of the technological concerns about 4K have been addressed.

“While Ovum remains positive, 4K’s success is not quite a sure thing yet. It is still an early adopters’ market.

“While prices are coming down and new content is becoming available, devices are still expensive and compelling content remains scarce. Add to that the fact that transmission is only just starting and it is clear there is still some way to go.”

He said 3D was “notably absent” from the conference – from both the vendors in the stalls and in the presentations delivered.

“3DTV, as we have known for the past couple of years, is dead,” said Mr Patel, adding that the closure of Sky’s 3D channel made the fact even clearer.

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