Ericsson reports fast growth in TV viewing over cellular

Growing consumption of TV services over mobile networks has been reported by Ericsson in its 2012 Consumer Insight Report.

Based on interviews conducted by its consumer laboratory on 100,000 people in over 40 countries, the report also identified a big increase in the number of people combining social media with TV, up from 44 percent in 2011 to 62 percent now. These trends seem almost contradictory in that most social media usage in front of the big screen will involve access over WiFi rather than 3G or 4G networks, since it takes place within the home. The increased content consumption over cellular has been driven by more use of smartphones in particular, but also tablets, outside the home.

“Last year we were seeing 45 percent of smartphone viewing taking place outside the home, and now it is 50 percent,” said Ericsson’s senior advisor Anders Erlandsson. “There is quite a lot of 3G connectivity and I would say the extension of 3G networks and 4G networks has been a factor in this growth in viewing outside the home. Even on tablets, viewing of services like Netflix at times like waiting for kids to finish sports practice is increasing, and then normally only the mobile network is available.”

The growing use of social media while viewing takes a variety of forms depending on the content, according to Erlandsson.

“Obviously for sports, cheering on your favorite team is very much a social TV experience.” There is also growing activity around games shows and competitions where viewers are invited take part and interact directly via the TV. “Here we are finding that consumers watching competitions also participate indirectly by twittering to each other, not as part of the actual event.”

Ericsson makes use of information from its consumer survey for marketing purposes, but it can also affect product development. “It has a lot to do with PR, but also helps our R&D department bring out solutions that incorporate the right stuff and leave out what people don’t want.” One example has been social networking, which according to Erlandsson has been more tightly integrated into the Ericsson multiscreen platform than it might have been without its consumer report.