2010 seen good for TV, bad for e-readers

LONDON Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:32am EST

A man watches a presentation of a flat screen TV model in Berlin, September 7, 2009. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

A man watches a presentation of a flat screen TV model in Berlin, September 7, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Peter

LONDON (Reuters) - The television will dominate home entertainment for another year in 2010, showing more staying power than newspapers and even their digital reincarnation the e-reader which could both struggle, a new report predicts.

According to the Deloitte 2010 TMT Predictions, the TV and its fixed schedule will remain a central part of the entertainment experience despite the growing demand from viewers who want to watch individual programs when they want them.

The forecast goes against many expectations as analysts have long expected the habit of downloading content from the Internet onto a computer -- when and where the viewer wants it -- to slowly spread to the way viewers also watch TV.

Moves in Britain to make TV catch-up and movie services available on the television and not just through a computer has proved hugely popular and the trend had been expected to accelerate.

But Deloitte said the traditional linear system of delivering television and radio was still easier and sufficient for the majority of consumers.

If correct, the news would be a huge boost to traditional broadcasters which have seen advertising revenues slump in the last two years due to the global recession and fears about the medium's future.

VIEWER POWER

"Our estimate is that over 90 percent of all television watched and over 80 percent of all audio content consumed will be via traditional broadcast," the report said.

"Linear will prevail despite the proliferation of technologies, such as digital video recorders, pay-per-view, on-demand television, podcasts, and online music services, all of which permit viewers and listeners to opt out of the broadcasters' schedules."

The changing demands are likely to result in new types of technology, but Deloitte expects this to also be more steady and does not expect a host of new TVs geared to the Web to rush to market.

Instead, Deloitte expects the so-called convergence to be driven by the user, with viewers accessing the Internet through laptops, Netbooks, smart phones and games consoles while they watch the television.

"As simultaneous Web and television use gains popularity, television producers will be encouraged to create Web sites that feed off viewers' eagerness to react to what they are watching," the report said.

In the world of text however, the report sees technology playing even more of a dramatic role.

Deloitte expects newspapers and magazines to continue to deliberate over whether to charge for online content, with little consensus, while even shiny new electronic readers could struggle as new gadgets come to market.

The e-reader, made by a growing number of companies including Amazon.com Inc and Sony Corp, allow users to read content on a paper-book sized tablet that downloads content digitally.

Amazon said in December its Kindle had become the most-purchased gift in the company's history.

But Deloitte said the gadget could become squeezed as new devices such as "slates" or "tablets" from the likes of Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp hit the market.

The new wireless gadgets, which have drawn headlines around the world ahead of their launch, are expected to stream video, download music, surf the Web and bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops.

(Editing by David Cowell)

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