Wednesday, 22 July 2015 18:57

Consumers embrace home Wi-Fi, but ‘disparity’ between expectations and reality Featured

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Consumers embrace home Wi-Fi, but ‘disparity’ between expectations and reality Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Wi-Fi connectivity at home is growing at a rapid rate for consumers all around the world with the average home now having six media devices connected to its Wi-Fi network – but it’s not all smooth sailing with a disparity between consumer expectations and performance of their networks.

As consumers demand Wi-FI without limits, research by Arris reveals that nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers have issues with Wi-Fi at home – attributed to a likely consequence of the growing number of connected media devices and a “tremendous opportunity” for service providers to improve connectivity issues.

According to the research, the average household spends almost 6.5 hours each week streaming a subscription service, while four out of five (81%) of those who stream now do so at least weekly, up from 72% just last year.

There is a clear connection between Wi-Fi and mobile TV too, with nearly three-quarters (73% ) of people who watch mobile TV at least once a week, using Wi-Fi to do so, according to Sandy Howe, Arris Senior Vice President, Global Marketing.

“These trends are a likely culprit of the Internet issues that nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers experience, as well as their renewed interest in high-speed Internet in every room of the house – a service that 72 % indicated was either very important or vitally important.

“The research underscores new qualifications for the rise of both mobile TV and binge-viewing. While the popularity of mobile TV continues to increase—more than half (59%) of consumers are now watching TV on-the-go—the potential for growth is greatest in older demographics, where barriers of inconvenience and cost continue to challenge broader market adoption. Meanwhile, binge-viewing has evolved into a very personal and solitary activity for 60% of binge-viewing consumers.

Howe says the research into the evolving consumer interaction with entertainment technology and content, underscores four major trends:

•    Consumer dependence on Wi-Fi and consequent frustration with its quality

•    The concurrent growth and hindrance of mobile TV adoption

•    The growing preference for downloading vs. streaming mobile content, and

•    The increasingly personal nature of binge-viewing.

“The good news for service providers is that these trends represent a number of opportunities to make it easier for consumers of all ages to download or stream content, to customise content and services to the individual consumer experience, and to solve connectivity issues by giving consumers a high-speed wireless connection where it is needed—all over the home—through better Wi-Fi equipment and training,” Howe says.

Key findings from the 2015 ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index include:

•    Good quality Wi-Fi has become a necessity in homes: 72% of consumers consider a high-speed Internet connection in every room of their house either vitally important or very important. And, more than half (54 percent) state that it is vitally important to have high-speed Wi-Fi that works outside of its current range. Service providers have a tremendous opportunity to solve connectivity issues for consumers by providing reliable, high-speed connections throughout the home

•    Popularity of mobile TV is maturing among younger demographics, but future growth will rely on older generations: More than half (59%) of all people now watch mobile TV, rising to 72% of 16-24 year-olds. However, while young people watch the most mobile TV, there has been no increase in the number of viewers. For 65+ year-old consumers, the number of mobile TV viewers has increased by a remarkable 11%, up from 19% last year. This demographic presents an excellent growth opportunity for operators if they can help consumers overcome barriers of inconvenience and cost, and make it easier to download or stream content

•    Consumers prefer to download vs. stream mobile content: Nearly three-quarters (72%) of downloading consumers say it is important to be able to download content to a device so they can watch it on-the-go without an Internet connection, rather than having to rely on cellular connections to stream. Also, 73% of the respondents who watch mobile TV use Wi-Fi to do so. This presents an opportunity for service providers to facilitate content downloads to mobile devices

•    Binge-viewing has gone solo in 2015: 60% of binge-viewers do so alone, and the average binge-viewing consumer now watches for three hours in each sitting. Thus, service providers have an opportunity to personalise content and services for the individual and deliver a more tailored customer experience

•    Slow Growth in OTT Fails to Draw Broadcast TV Users: The past year has seen a nominal increase in OTT users (from 93% to 94%) and a similarly nominal decrease in broadcast TV users (from 97% to 96% ). This highlights a disparity between industry expectation of these services and their actual rate of acceleration and suggests that Broadcast TV remains king for now.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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