Advanced Television

Limelight: Consumer preferences shift to digital content

June 13, 2017

Consumers worldwide increasingly depend on smartphones to access digital content and tend to go online to purchase video games, movies and books, according to the latest State of Digital Downloads research report – based on a survey of 3,500 consumers ranging in age, gender, and education in France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, the UK, and the US – from digital content delivery specialist Limelight Networks.

Highlighting consumers’ shifting demand for both streaming and downloading content, the annual report found that only 14 per cent of all respondents still prefer to rent or purchase DVDs of movies and TV shows, and only 25 per cent prefer hard copies of books or traditional print media. In comparison, two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents prefer to stream or download TV shows and movies, while 38 per cent prefer to download books, newspapers, and magazines. When it comes to music, almost half (46 per cent) of respondents say they prefer to download music rather than stream it or purchase a CD.

Comparatively, European respondents’ entertainment consumption is similar, with 13 per cent of European consumers preferring to rent or purchase DVDs of films and TV shows. Around 15 per cent of German and UK respondents opt to consume entertainment through these traditional mediums, compared to just 9 per cent of their French counterparts. The preferences for streaming rather than downloading content continues to grow. Notably, two-thirds of European consumers (62 per cent) prefer to download or stream TV shows and movies. The highest streaming rate is observed in France at 49 per cent, compared to 42 and 40 per cent in the UK and Germany, respectively.

More than one third (37 per cent) of German consumers choose to download books and magazines, with the UK (36 per cent) and France (30 per cent) not far behind. German respondents are 58 per cent less likely to consider obtaining hard copies. Similarly, respondents in Germany and the UK (34 per cent) opt to download music in comparison with less than a third (25 per cent) of French consumers. Instead French respondents are 56 per cent more likely to stream music.

“Digital content is now the preferred format for media consumption by a growing mobile-first audience,” says Michael Milligan, Senior Director at Limelight Networks. “There’s no question that content needs to be easily accessible and optimised across all connected devices and global networks if it’s to reach the widest possible audience and provide the best experience. This is no longer a feature for providers, but a necessity for survival.”

Additional insights from the report include:

  • Consumers want free content. When it comes to accessing music, half of consumers (51 per cent) will only download it if it’s free. British (56 per cent) and German (44 per cent) audiences are significantly more likely to accept having to pay for music than their French neighbours (29 per cent) A further 74 per cent will only download a mobile application if it is free. However, this pattern shifts when it comes to books and movies, which customers are more willing to pay for (40 per cent are willing to pay to download TV shows and movies.)
  • Consumers expect fast downloads. Nearly one-third (30 per cent) of all respondents highlight slow download times as their primary frustration with downloading content. Japan, in particular, has little patience for slow downloads with 41 per cent of respondents citing this as their top frustration. Consumers in the UK also cite slow downloads as their number one frustration. Interestingly, the concerns around downloading varies significantly across European consumers. The bigger concern for German consumers (32 per cent) is when it doesn’t work. By contrast, French respondents are more frustrated by content that has to be started all over again (29 per cent)
  • New apps and app updates are the most common type of content downloaded. In fact, these are downloaded 22 per cent more often than music, the second most downloaded type of content
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) hasn’t gained widespread adoption yet. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of consumers do not yet have devices such as digital assistants, home automation hubs, or internet-connected thermostats and have no plans to purchase them in the next two years. However, consumers aren’t avoiding IoT due to security concerns. In fact, less than 30 per cent of all respondents express a security concern with either digital assistants or smart home devices. This is reflected in attitudes of European consumers. Respondents in the UK are the most concerned (28 per cent), followed by Germany and France respectively (26 and 21 per cent, respectively). UK consumers have the highest number of privacy concerns with nearly one third (26 per cent) seeing this as a major issue around IoT devices.


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