Finland: HD content and mobile TV prosper

The use of high-definition services is increasing on large home screens in Finland, while more and more users carry their televisions with them on personal mobile devices. Greater numbers of Finnish people are enjoying HD image quality, particularly for watching sports.

A survey commissioned by DNA indicates that consumers in Finland are making active use of the new distribution formats for TV programming. Viewing habits are changing in line with the diversification of offering and increase of viewing opportunities. Use of HD services is increasing, and consumers are also clearly more satisfied with HD services than before. High image quality is one of the most important reasons for continuing to follow HD channels.

Satisfaction with HD services and the numbers of viewers increasing
The households that watch HD channels follow sports in particular, but other entertainment such as films, series and documentaries is also popular. The survey was carried out immediately after the end of the Winter Olympics: nearly four in ten respondents said they had followed the Olympics in HD. The same number also stated that they watch all television content in high definition if possible. A third of respondents watched high definition films, with nearly as many following series in HD.

The viewing of HD channels has increased significantly, since approximately 40 per cent of viewers now state that HD channels are watched in their household, whereas the corresponding figure was 28 per cent in 2012. Viewing remains especially strong in cable households, where as many as 51 per cent of respondents said that they watch HD channels, in comparison to only 29 per cent of terrestrial-network respondents.

The number of HD-ready televisions has increased since 2012, when DNA last commissioned a survey on the subject. Now only 15 per cent of respondents said that their household’s primary television was not HD ready (21 per cent in 2012). However, nearly one-third (31 per cent) of respondents could not say whether their televisions were HD ready (47 per cent of women, 14 per cent of men). Of terrestrial-network households, 61 per cent were aware that HD channels can be watched through the terrestrial network.

“Roughly 85 per cent of terrestrial-network households are within the coverage of HD channels, but many still lack information on how to receive HD channels through the terrestrial network. When a terrestrial-network household is equipped with both VHF and UHF antennae, it can receive all terrestrial TV offering, which also includes several high definition channels,” says DNA’s Director of Television Business Operations Mikko Saarentaus.

The terrestrial pay TV provider PlusTV was acquired by DNA last autumn, after which PlusTV subscribers have been able to use terrestrial high definition devices and use all terrestrial TV services with their TV cards, including several HD channels. PlusTV services were moved under the DNA Welho brand in March.

“High definition content is being offered both on free channels and in pay-TV packages, which significantly increases consumers’ freedom of choice. Viewers can first experience HD image quality with their own eyes on free HD channels, from where it is natural to progress to HD channels included in pay TV packages,” Saarentaus continues.

Some consumers nevertheless remain uncertain of when they are watching HD broadcasts. “Some customers feel that having a Full HD television is enough. In order to be able to enjoy all high definition offering, however, they should make sure that their television also carries the Antenna Ready HD or Cable Ready HD marking, which enables the viewing of high definition pay TV content,” Saarentaus reminds us.

Television is still mostly watched through traditional home televisions by an overwhelming margin in Finland, and computers take second place. The survey’s respondents had nevertheless increased their viewing on tablets and mobile phones considerably in the last 12 months.

One in ten respondents already watches TV programmes on a mobile phone. The most popular content recently viewed on mobile phones included TV series, the Olympic Games and other sports, news broadcasts, and documentaries.

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