New Devices, New Challenges

Traditional media companies must adapt and integrate their content with new distribution channels or risk becoming replaced by new competitors, according to Kanbay Research Institute's latest report, "Media Content Demand 2006: How Well Media Content Providers Deliver on Consumer Desires." The study tracks media content across four categories: broadcast channels, cable channels, news channels, and Web channels. In the independent study for 2006, KRI conducted 1,713 interviews with U.S. consumers to rate 30 different media channels when viewing their content on a TV, Web-PC, or mobile devices like cell phones or iPods. Increasingly, those once-distinct channels are becoming intermixed as broadcasters look to expand their ability to charge for content. Popular shows like CBS's Survivor place bonus content on Web sites. To view this additional content, the consumer also has to watch one or more advertisements. Other programs, like ABC's Desperate Housewives
and CNBC's Mad Money, are available for download via iTunes. Beyond the idea of further monetizing content, broadcasters are seeking to deliver programming to viewers at their convenience, rather than on a network's schedule. "I was very interested to see the extent to which people were willing to see content on the mobile platform," says Julian Lloyd, senior director in the communications practice of KRI. "I had considered the market to be less mature than what the numbers showed. This is very good for the companies involved--Sprint and Verizon." However, while viewers appear to be very willing to pay $1.99 to see the latest crisis on Wisteria Lane, they're much less likely to pay the higher premiums telecommunications carriers are attempting to charge in order to watch a program on a cell phone, according to Lloyd. Viewers typically want to watch longer programs on larger devices, so they'll tend to record programs for later viewing at home, whereas short-hit, compact programs like CNN's "Headline News" tend to be the most popular on mobile devices. According to the survey, only 17.5 percent of consumers are willing to trade content quality for mobility. So the market for video content on small, mobile devices will remain limited. "There are three basic takeaways from the survey," Lloyd says. "First, there's no one size fits all. Second, the nature and presentation of the content have to be based on the [viewing] device. Third, the hope that consumers will pay additional premiums for content (beyond the $1.99 for iTunes) isn't supported by the survey numbers." Related articles: "Mobile CRM Is On the Go"
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