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Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson CEO of Intersperience
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YouView, The new opportunity for researchers

Last week, YouView was launched. YouView is an internet-connected set top box backed by all four of the public service broadcasters and two internet servie providers (TalkTalk and BT)

This is significant for a number of reasons as it was originally conceived as the future of Freeview and was designed to bring ‘connected TV’ to the masses. In short, it has been designed to change the nation’s viewing habits for good.

However, it’s been beset with problems and has launched 2 years late and analysts have been rather less than impressed – lukewarm at best. The £299 price tag for a box has taken the gloss of it somewhat, but also, evidently the product doesn’t offer much in the way of vision either.

But this isn’t the first time analysts have been less than impressed. Hard to imagine now, but 2-3 years ago analysts weren’t overly keen on the iPad – why, they asked, do consumers need this when they have laptops that are technically superior and cheaper? Good question, but behaviour is a funny thing and indeed there was a gap for a tablet device and now it seems, they are the future.

For a good review of YouView, read this Telegraph story from the weekend:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9381795/YouView-presents-businesses-with-a-real-opportunity.html

So what does this mean for consumer research? Well not much has been written about this so far, so maybe it means nothing. Compared to the buzz around Google Surveys and Facebook ‘Wants’, YouView hasn’t notched up a lot of column inches!

This is a mistake. I believe that YouView will be a massive success – for all of the reasons identified in the Telegraph article. It will speed up the adoption of Connected TVs significantly.

The critical point for research is that soon we will have another (much larger) screen connected to the internet and giving us a new way to interact with consumers and get feedback. We will have yet another ‘app store’ to consider. Another new tool in our armoury.

So what are the possible opportunities:

  • First up, how about a depth interview? I suspect one future use of connected TVs will be video calling, via Skype type services
  • This also opens up a great way to get feedback from the whole family – unlike a tablet or smartphone, we get a whole group of people in one room discussing with us
  • What about surveys? Researchers are only just getting their heads around smartphone surveys but what happens when people start choosing to do them via connected TVs? That will change the survey dynamic again
  • Gamification and fun collaborative surveys should love this new format – family feedback; fun, engaging games, all of this will take on a new meaning with connected TVs
  • Advertising feedback and interactive response – I’ve no idea about how this works but TV interactivity is likely to take a step up in the next few years. What does that mean for customer feedback?
  • Our research communities and panels will also have to adapt, giving the option of participants using the connected TV to get involved
Finally, where there is an app store, there is innovation. Businesses love app stores and this new one will lead to new start-ups and new opportunities for online research. We have to be ready for this and start preparing now.

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