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We see it in Hong Kong on every MTR ride: commuters zoned into television dramas on their smartphones. And new research from Irdeto indicates that in Singapore, smartphones are the most used devices...in living rooms.
You read that right. Out of a thousand adult Singaporeans polled, 56% named their smartphone as the "first screen" for their living room couch. Laptops/PCs were second at 39%. Smart TVs and STBs – those modern audio-visual marvels? 26% and 28%, respectively.
A sociologist might have a field day with this dataset ("people feel their smartphones are 'friendly'...they want to cuddle up with them on the couch!"). Handset-manufacturers are intrigued. But content-providers must understand that the big flashy screen bolted to the wall of Singaporean living rooms may not be the "first screen" in the minds of the users.
Stream, baby, stream
Not long ago, Wi-Fi was something you'd find at a nearby coffee shop. Nowadays, people with fat bandwidth pipes run an in-house wireless network – with connection speeds of 100 Mbps or more, no problem creaming off bytes for hi-def on a handheld. And as you've been watching the show streaming via 4G or whatever on the MRT, you simply continue...on the small screen.
How to pry eyes away from that device: switch seamlessly. Same program, at the same point, please. Consumers are finicky nowadays – give them the viewing experience they expect, or be prepared to wave bye-bye.
Better yet, give them options: back the entry-point up ten seconds, or a minute, or whatever. Seamless-switching for some may mean flexibility, so the more options you can conjure, the happier your customers will be.
Land of Oz
But that's Singapore, the picture's different in Australia, where – according to the same survey – laptops/PCs are the "first screens" at home, at 43%. Only 30% of the polled Aussies named smartphones as the "most used devices in [their] living rooms."
"Device ownership is a clear driver for this living room domination," said Irdeto in a statement, referring to their survey – which included the US and UK as well as Singapore and Australia. "The research found that PCs or laptops and smartphones are the two most frequently owned devices – and [that trend] shows no sign of slowing according to device purchase intentions over the next five years."
Richard Scott, SVP for sales and marketing, Irdeto, says this evolution of the traditional living room viewing experience would "further increase the importance of a secure and compelling multi-screen offering for operators and OTT players … by harnessing the power of consumer insights, they will be able to tailor content and services to customers based on their changing viewing habits and device usage, and avoid losing customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace."
Or to put it another way: give customers what they want or watch them churn right through the revolving door. Content may be king, but every consumers clutches a fistful of aces. Serve the screens – first and second.