According to a new report by The NPD Group, there is a large and untapped market for devices that offer connected capabilities and the digital content played on those devices. NPD's "The Connected Experience: Building a Bridge Between Devices & Content" report reveals how U.S. consumers are adopting connected devices and using digital content, as well as what motivates specific consumer groups to use connected devices and connect to, and purchase, content.
"What we learned in our research is that while some people already experience the world in a connected way, most do not," said Russ Crupnick, vice president and senior entertainment analyst for NPD. "For many who are connecting it is not about the flashiest apps, but more about the fundamentals like web browsing and email. The promise of the connected experience is coming, as prospective Blu-ray owners want their players to come with connectivity, and half of game consoles are already connected. The doors are also opening wider for music, video, gaming and other forms of entertainment."
According to NPD's report, as the industry grows consumers are beginning to access a broader array of content and services, and they are doing so from more devices. Although 75% of U.S. consumers (age 13 and older) did not connect or download content in the previous three months, 15% connected and downloaded content via PC or Mac computer; 6% connected with a video-game player; 4% connected via smartphone; and 2% connected via a Blu-ray Disc (BD) player or a digital video player, like Apple TV or Roku.
"The advent of the connected device is the most significant step in the evolution of consumer electronics and content since the digital revolution that began three decades ago," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. "Creating new device classes and enabling older ones to connect to external digital services and content affects every aspect of their existence, including their physical form, user interface, core competencies and components needed to create them, and business models that can make or break them."
With their low prices and rising penetration BD stands to be a prime avenue to deliver broadband content to the consumer's living room. Connected televisions are also experiencing increasing penetration, particularly among large-screen televisions.
Devices with associated services, like XBox Live and Amazon's Kindle store, are driving content associated with particular types of devices, but owners are consuming more general content, as well; for example, smartphone platforms are increasingly accessing a range of media services, from games to music to video to productivity apps. "Discoverability, driven by a rich user experience, is key to content exposure," according to Anita Frazier, industry analyst for toys and video games for NPD.
"Today's gamer might be a hard-core teen-ager playing games online with his friends, a 40-something female playing Farmville on Facebook, or everything on either side of that spectrum," Frazier said. " We would not have seen this type of audience diversification and expansion if it weren't for connected Internet, smartphone, and online gaming options."[Source: "The Connected Experience: Building a Bridge Between Devices & Content." NPD Group. 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2010.]