Advanced Television

Western Europe leads adoption of new media technology

February 13, 2013

ZenithOptimedia has published its New Media Forecasts identifying the top 19 digital markets across the world, ranked according to a combination of absolute size and percentage of total adspend taken by internet expenditure. The study has examined how consumers in these markets use digital media; how Internet advertising, social media and e-commerce are developing; and how quickly new media technologies are being adopted.

Within these 19 markets,  ZenithOptimedia has tracked the adoption of three new media technologies – IPTV, smartphones and tablets – and forecast their penetration to 2015.

Across these markets, smartphones are the most prevalent device, with an average 36 per cent penetration in 2012. Smartphone penetration varies widely among the 19 markets, from 73 per cent in Sweden to 18 per cent in Brazil. In all markets penetration is rising rapidly, and ZenithOptimedia forecasts it to double to 72 per cent across all 19 markets by 2015, reaching 33 per cent in Brazil and 93 per cent in Sweden.

Tablet penetration averaged 5 per cent in 2012, but exceeded 15 per cent in five markets: Australia, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA. By 2015, ZenithOptimedia expects penetration to average 13 per cent across the 19 markets, but to range as high as 45 per cent in France and 50 per cent in Ireland.

IPTV is the slowest-growing of the three technologies; ZenithOptimedia expects its average penetration to rise by 36 per cent between 2012 and 2015, from 6.6 per cent to 9.0 per cent. IPTV also has the widest range of adoption among the 19 markets; by 2015, ZenithOptimedia expects its penetration to reach 91 per cent in the Netherlands, but remain at 1 per cent in Russia.

Looking at the individual markets, Norway had the highest average penetration in 2012, thanks to its high take-up of smartphones (65 per cent, compared to an average 44 per cent in these 19 markets) and tablets (13 per cent, compared to a 9 per cent average). Sweden and Denmark also feature in the top five, reflecting Scandinavia’s traditional consumer enthusiasm for the Internet and digital media. In fact, despite the continued economic troubles in the region, all of the top five markets were in Western Europe. The highest-ranked market from outside Western Europe was Canada, in sixth place. Australia, in seventh place, was the highest-placed market from Asia Pacific, while Hungary was the highest-placed from Central & Eastern Europe, at 16th. Brazil, at 17th, is the only Latin American market among the top 19.

By 2015, however, ZenithOptimedia expects the Netherlands to take the top position. This is thanks to its extremely rapid adoption of IPTV, which broadband providers are competing to offer as a value-added service to take advantage of the fast-paced build-out of new fibre-optic infrastructure. The swift growth of IPTV has already started eroding the number of subscribers to cable and satellite TV. The study estimates that in 2012 27 per cent of households in the Netherlands had IPTV, up from 10 per cent in 2010. By 2015, ZenithOptimedia forecasts IPTV to be in 91 per cent of Dutch households. This is much higher than the penetration forecast in the second-ranked market for IPTV – Canada, where  69 per cent penetration in 2015 in predicted.

ZenithOptimedia forecasts Ireland to climb the fastest up the rankings, from 11th place in 2012 to third in 2015. Ireland is adopting all three technologies very quickly, most notably tablets, which 50 per cent of the population should have access to in 2015. The Irish government is investing in providing tablets to schools, which is increasing their availability and indirectly encouraging sales by making parents familiar with their advantages.

ZenithOptimedia expects Western Europe to remain at the forefront of the adoption of new media technology, accounting for four of the top five and seven of the top ten markets in 2015. Canada, in fifth place, is the highest-ranked market outside Western Europe, while Australia and South Korea come in at eighth and ninth.

The US, despite its wealth and stronger economic growth, is buying into these technologies less rapidly, and is expected it to slip down the rankings from 12th place in 2012 to 14th in 2015, as high subscription prices slow the uptake of smartphones.  Central & Eastern Europe lags behind, with Hungary and Russia in 18th and 19th place respectively in 2015.


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