Cease the iPad App Lawsuits! Users Don’t Care About Live Streaming in an On-Demand World

Posted by at 2:18 pm on May 30, 2011

Eager to fend off the threats of non-traditional distribution platforms such as Hulu and Netflix and remain relevant, US Pay TV providers have recently begun launching their own iPad apps— allowing subscribers to access their recorded and video-on-demand content from a tablet device. This move has not been welcomed by content creators, and the well-publicized battle between Time Warner Cable and Viacom appears likely to be decided in the courts. A new report by Strategy Analytics indicates that the debate might be nothing more than a distraction.

Central to the current dispute is the live video streaming feature, enabling subscribers to view live real-time content on a mobile device— just as if they were watching on their own television. Survey research conducted by Strategy Analytics suggests that live video streaming is not even a highly valued feature by subscribers.

“Live video streaming is simply not a coveted feature for consumers. Of the 60 percent of smartphone users who ever view video on their mobile device, most engage in content ‘snacking’ of less than ten minutes at a time,” said Josh Martin, Senior Analyst in the Strategy Analytics Wireless Media Strategies service. “The only exception is live sports, but most sports leagues have already circumvented the Pay TV operators by releasing their own apps offering live streaming.”

Changing viewing behavior is driving the iPad app explosion, and consumers are increasingly demanding access to their content on multiple devices. This presents both an opportunity and a threat, according to the report.

“In an environment where consumers increasingly question the value they are receiving from their Pay TV subscriptions, a coherent multi-screen strategy will be a critical factor for customer retention,” said Ben Piper, Director in the Strategy Analytics Digital Consumer practice.

The report, “iPad and Pay TV: A Business Marriage Made in the Cloud,” evaluates those efforts as the iPad and Pay TV converge to battle disintermediation.

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