Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Research Points To Pay-For-Play's Dim Future

Online Media Daily writes that even with all the noise from Apple, Google and others about pay-to-play video, consumers just might not want to pay up.

According to a report by Points North Group, "consumers prefer ad-supported content over a fee change by a greater than three to one margin." The survey also asked "consumers if they missed their favorite TV show and could watch it online or order it through cable or satellite, 62 percent of respondents said they would prefer getting it for free with commercials, versus 17 percent who chose paying $1.99 without commercials."

Points North analyst Craig Leddy said, "I'm the last guy to advocate more advertising in the world, so it was surprising to see such strong support for advertising over fees."

Jupiter Research analyst David Card concurred with the findings, "All of our research shows tremendous consumer resistance to paying for video." Regarding Apple and Google's announcements, Card added, "With eight million or so downloads, I don't think Apple's video store has been successful. I was very surprised by Google's decision to charge for video."

Taking a more wait-and-see approach, Mike McGuire at Gartner said, "I'd say it's very early to be making any definitive pronouncements regarding different models. There's a lot of experimenting going on, and there's a lot more that will need to be done in the future."

The fact that the SlingBox and other devices are offering place shifting capabilities to mobile devices will change the whole equation as well. Of course this will also require a significant investment in just equipment alone. With so many different places to store one's digital content, a centralized media server isn't looking like a bad idea after all....