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Figures from Decipher’s bi-annual media consumption report Mediabug have shown that half of those who have purchased a TV show or film on their set-top box have never purchased a digital TV show or film before.
Mediabug Wave 7 reports that, to date, 24 per cent of the UK online population have purchased a digital copy of a TV show or film; a practice known as EST (‘electronic sell through’). Most of these buyers have purchased via an online store such as iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon Instant. However, the new option to purchase via your TV set top box from Sky and BT seems to be attracting new consumers to digital buying. To date, 8 per cent of the UK online population have purchased via their set top box, but half of this group (4 per cent) had never purchased EST before.
The finding is a strong indication that STBs are able to reach new audiences previously resistant to purchasing digital entertainment.
Despite high levels of smartphone and tablet ownership in the UK, Mediabug has shown little evidence of mainstream adoption of EST over the last few years. A number of factors are presumed to be contributors. A general lack of awareness over how to management digital entertainment; despite relatively mature services by eco-systems such as Apple and Google that allow multi-device access to digitally purchased copies, and the ability to delete and re-download at any time. Another contributor has been the effort required to get digital copies to the TV screen using devices such as Apple TV or an Amazon Fire TV stick; perhaps a bemusing additional step for the average DVD-equipped home. This has also been occurring against a background of change in the entertainment business model, with all you can eat subscription services such as Netflix, NOW TV, and Amazon Prime Instant Video also gaining traction.
The advent of TV EST knocks down a few of those barriers by allowing purchase and viewing all on the set top box, and there has been speculation that this might just be the tipping point for the mainstream families who are used to their set top box being the main source of entertainment in the home. In what is perhaps a shrewd move on the part of Sky to help transition these DVD-loving homes to a new way of buying, anyone who purchases via their box also gets the DVD sent to them in the mail.
Director of Decipher Media Research Dr. Hamish McPharlin said: ‘The advent of TV EST ticks all the right boxes for mainstream consumers; putting digital purchases right there alongside live TV and recordings on the family set top box. We are not surprised that this has appealed to consumers previously resistant to purchasing via devices’.
Other findings from Mediabug Wave 7 include: