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Tablets, smartphones displace PCs for paid for video

It has long been held that the explosion of tablets and smartphones has driven the upsurge in online video usage, but when it comes to business it seems that portable screens are cannibalising, and not complementing, existing platforms.

Indeed, as revealed by the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 US Residential Pay-to-View Study, since 2011 as paid video content becomes more available via different distribution channels, tablet and smartphone-based video usage has increased and there has been a commensurate decline in PC/Mac-viewing usage.

Drilling deeper, the study found that, as indicated in other surveys, tablets were the most often used handheld device, accounting for use by nearly a fifth (18%) of customers, up 7% year-on-year. By contrast, phone-based usage inched up 2% to 16%. Overall, and including overlapping usage, 29% of video service customers watched paid content on a handheld device. Over the same time, PC/Mac viewing of paid content declined to 39% from 48% in 2011.

"Customers are becoming more comfortable viewing their paid content on a smaller screen, such as a tablet or mobile phone," explained Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. "The convenience of the device, as well as the availability of the content, has made it much easier to experience video on a variety of devices. However, the desire to watch events and video content as it happens is still prevalent, as more than 50% of viewers watch live television programming."

The study also revealed interesting age demographic differences in the usage and viewing practices and satisfaction of paid content by Gen Y and Baby Boomer customers. Even though satisfaction with video service providers among Gen Y customers declined to 752 points, down 18 points from 2011, satisfaction among Baby Boomer customers actually grew by 19 points to 748. The analyst believes that among Gen Y customers, satisfaction has declined in part due to lower ratings for cost of service and customer service, while satisfaction among Baby Boomer customers has increased due to higher ratings for billing, ease of use and variety of videos/programming provided. These have significance in real business terms. In addition, when selecting a video service provider, 21% of Gen Y customers consider mobility a factor, compared with only 9% of Baby Boomer customers, further highlighting the different needs of these two generations.

"Baby Boomers are more becoming more comfortable with paid video technology and, as a result, are becoming more satisfied with the services available," added Perazzini. "Conversely, Gen Y customers are already familiar with the technology and not only demand a high level of service from video service providers, but also are quick to seek alternatives when they believe they could have a better experience elsewhere."

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