The Dutch consumers union Consumentenbond accuses CE manufacturers of failing to support apps for its smart TVs by putting the blame on the app developers.
The recent announcement by Microsoft that it is dropping support for its Skype smart TV app is an example of disappearing apps. At the time, Skype said it is leaving it up to smart TV manufacturers whether or not they decided to remove the app or service from their devices or continue to offer an unsupported version. Following the news, Samsung said it would drop the app on June 2, 2016 from its TV sets.
According to the Consumentenbond, buyers of new TV sets are looking for apps during the decision process. Three-quarters of the buyers expect the apps to run as long as the TV set functions. Some 9% already experienced disappearing apps, including RTL XL and YouTube.
The union said CE manufacturers should take their responsibility and offer continued support for its apps. In a statement, the union said “The evasive attitude of the TV manufacturers is very disappointing. We would like to see them take more responsibility for long-term availability of all the apps that are installed on the TV at the time of purchase. And in particular the apps with which they advertise actively. We are also pf the opinion that TV manufacturers should communicate this clearly in their advertising.”
In a recent survey among 8,000 consumers, the union found that about half of them own a smart TV, and three-quarters of them are actively using the apps. According to the research almost 30% of users younger than 35 years old use the apps daily, while a quarter of over-55s use it at least once a week.
The above chart shows smart TV app usage among different age groups – from left to right -,daily, a few times a week, a few times a month, a few times a year and never.
The research also found that, not surprisingly, apps that offer on-demand video are the most popular, with YouTube and Netflix popular among under-35s, and the app of the Dutch public broadcaster NPO more popular among older viewers. The top 5 apps is 1) Netflix; 2) NPO; 3) YouTube; 4) NOS and 5) RTL XL.
During the buying process, 60% said they were actively looking for the Netflix app, followed by Spotify (47%), NOS (42%), YouTube (42%) and NPO (41%).