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TV Embraces the Internet and Prospers

Deloitte LLP announced that it has released the results of its latest State of the Media Democracy survey.

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Unedited press release follows:

Deloitte’s “State of the Media Democracy” Survey: TV Industry Embraces the Internet and Prospers

Smartphone adoption on rise; Print magazines resilient; Consumers ready for cloud computing

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2011 — In a media environment saturated with new and evolving online entertainment platforms, TV continues to be king. Released today, Deloitte’s fifth edition “State of the Media Democracy” survey reveals that 71 percent of Americans still rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities.

The survey results indicate that live viewing on a home TV system continues to be the most common method among individuals for watching their favorite programming, and supporting the notion that traditional television advertising continues to be a viable model. In addition, 86 percent of Americans stated that TV advertising still has the most impact on their buying decisions.

Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey assesses media consumption preferences of nearly 2,000 consumers, ages 14 to 75 years old in the United States, revealing significant trends including the power of TV when supplemented by the Internet, a dramatic rise in smartphone adoption, the steady popularity of print magazines, and the emergence of cloud computing as a potential consumer entertainment storage and access solution.

Deloitte’s survey indicates that the Internet, mobile and social media channels are enhancing the overall television viewer experience, driving people to watch first-run programs and live events during their initial broadcast. The survey also reveals that nearly three-quarters of American consumers are multitasking while watching TV. According to the research, 42 percent are online, 29 percent are talking on cellphones or mobile devices, and 26 percent are sending instant messages or text messages.

Perhaps even more importantly, 61 percent of U.S. consumers now maintain a social networking site, where constant streams of updates and discussion forums have made delaying awareness of live TV outcomes a near impossibility.

“Consumers are not only watching television, they are talking about it, and those conversations are frequently taking place in real-time online and via IM/texting,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and technology, media and telecommunications industry leader, Deloitte LLP. “By embracing the Internet as a platform that encourages audiences to participate in discussions about their favorite programs, television is maintaining its hold on the American public. People want to be part of the real-time conversation and they are embracing both platforms in a complementary fashion.

“And, because television has embraced the Internet and social media so effectively, the traditional television advertising model is alive and well,” Asmundson added.

Rise of the Smartphones
According to this year’s survey, 33 percent of American households now own a smartphone, up from 11 percent only three years ago, and 40 percent of U.S. consumers that do not own a smartphone are likely to purchase one in the near future. This marked rise in smartphone penetration in the U.S. market is rapidly changing consumer behavior with 56 percent of smartphone and laptop owners stating that they used their smartphones as a replacement for their laptop while away from home, jumping significantly from 41 percent in only three months.

“The growth in the smartphone market over the past few years is having a bigger impact on our lives than anyone might have imagined,” said Asmundson. “As the costs for these types of devices and the wireless services that come with them continue to fall, consumers are starting to shift their behavior, taking advantage of anywhere, anytime connectivity and handheld performance levels comparable to those found on their PCs. We expect smartphone adoption rates to continue to climb as new network technologies such as 4G begin to make the user-experience even faster and more seamless.”

Print Magazines Survive the Digital Tsunami
While 2010 witnessed another explosion of digital content and scores of new entertainment-friendly mobile devices coming to market, the adoption of certain digitally formatted content is taking longer to catch-on than some would have expected. According to the survey, since 2007 a consistent 70 percent of Americans state that they enjoy reading printed magazines even though they know that they could find most of the same information online, and 55 percent have continued to subscribe to printed magazines.

Additionally, a majority of U.S. respondents state that an important feature of printed magazines is the advertising that helps them learn about new things for themselves and their family. Since 2007, a consistent 80 percent of Americans who have read their favorite magazine state that reading the printed copy is their favorite method.

“Enthusiasm for printed magazines is consistent across all age groups, a unique result in consumer attitudes across all the media categories, we surveyed,’’ said James McDonnell, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Publishers have the opportunity to develop smart strategies to ensure that they maintain their print readership while simultaneously advancing a digital strategy that enhances the user experience.”

Is the Cloud the Answer to Digital Storage and Ubiquitous Access to Media Content?
Access to mobile devices and broadband have made the average consumer more connected to the Internet than ever and new online storage models have become real options for the mass market. According to the survey, most Americans own a device that allows them to easily connect to the Web – 85 percent of consumers own a desktop computer, 68 percent own a laptop/netbook computer and 41 percent access the Internet on their mobile phone.

The survey reveals that 51 percent of Americans have experienced a computer or hard drive failure that caused them to lose photos, movies, or other digital content. Moreover, the survey found that 32 percent of respondents stated a desire to have an online media storage service they could access from any device. In addition, 43 percent of respondents stated the desire to move content to any device and platform easily and effectively, indicating that cloud storage could provide an avenue for greater access to content and greater portability.

“The U.S. has significantly passed the tipping point where the majority of Americans now own a device such as a smartphone or have access to broadband that allows them to connect to the online world and quickly access information and entertainment,” added Asmundson. “With the majority of consumers aware of the risk of permanently losing their content due to hard drive failures, new methods to both store and gain greater access to digital content are beginning to take shape. And, while the consumers may not fully understand cloud computing, their concern about storing digital content on their PCs is raising awareness and opening up new opportunities for cloud-based storage models aimed at the consumer.”

About the Survey
Deloitte’s fifth edition State of the Media Democracy survey was architected by Deloitte’s media & entertainment practice and conducted by Harrison Group, an independent research company, between September 10 and October 8, 2010. The online survey polled nearly 2,000 consumers between the ages of 14 and 75 years old in the United States. The survey results have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. For more information on Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey, please visit: