According to Ofcom’s assessment of the Communications Market, Smart TVs now have a market share of 45% of all TV sales. Sales units peaked at over 800,000 in the pre-Christmas quarter before falling slightly to 663,000 in Q1 2014.
The most popular activities were the viewing of films or the free catch-up TV services from the UK’s public broadcasters. This is the only activity more popular with connected set-top box owners than smart TVs – the simple explanation may simply be that services like YouTube are not always available over such devices.
Common online activities carried out by smart TV owners are: watching short clips (33%), general surfing/browsing (30%), listening to music online (28%), accessing news (24%), and social networking (24%).
Eighty-one per cent with a connected set-top box used it for catch-up TV, compared to 73% for smart TV owners and 72% on other devices such as games consoles.
Owners of smart TVs were less likely to have experienced problems than those watching through a set-top – Ofcom attributes this to internet capacity and broadband speed – TV owners are twice as likely to ugrade their broadband capacity once they had connected their TV to the internet.
Online TV revenue in the UK continues to increase from £50 million in 2008 to £364 million in 2013, according to data from IHS. However, it remains a small share of the cake.
The free-to-air business model remains the principal contributor, though subscription is catching up, growing 76% in 2013 to reach £62 million.
Success has come through Netflix, Amazon Prime (the former LoveFilm) and Sky’s NOW TV.