Are we becoming obsessed with tablets and at the same time failing to appreciate both the size and importance of the smartphone market?
Hidden away in the numerous talks and presentations at this week’s IP & TV World Forum was a fascinating case study on deployments of tablets in the CEE region. Provided by Mirek Smyk, the founder and managing director of the consulting boutique MSCG, it included interesting statistics and forecasts for the tablet sector, both globally and the CEE, as well as comparisons with the smartphone market.
One of the most striking of statistics was that tablet sales in CEE are much lower than many would have previously believed: a mere 1.05 million in 2011, with around two-thirds of these in Russia, compared to a global total of 67 million.
What is more, the figure is projected to rise to only 3.86 million by 2015, assuming a price of €500 per unit. Yet even that is on the optimistic side.
One of the reasons tablets are so popular in the TV industry as a whole is that they are seen as a good potential source of revenue. In CEE, however, most tablet viewing is of free content.
That is not to say there’s no good content available or indeed that there isn’t any money to be made in CEE. Mirek Smyk cited a number of online on demand services in the region including Poland’s ipla, which was recently acquired by Cyfrowy Polsat and makes 90% of its revenues from advertising and 10% from TVOD. Boasting over 30K hours of content, the reason for its success is that its owners sell advertising on it alongside those for their linear TV services.
Others were Cyfra+HD in Poland, which charges for its app; Seenow in Romania; Topfun in the Czech Republic; and CME’s Voyo, now believed to have some 1.5 million users across the region.
Tablets are likely to succeed in CEE providing they become more affordable. That may probably be achieved by applying a smartphone business model, though that, in turn, will hit smartphone sales.