Digital locker storage may have a large captive audience, but the tricky part for providers will be to persuade consumers to pay for the privilege. Guy Daniels reports.
A new report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers suggests that there’s a big market for cloud-based digital storage services; that’s the good news. The bad news is that they don’t want to pay for them. Proving that we still haven’t come out of the “if it’s online, I want it for free” period of the internet’s evolution, nearly 70 per cent of respondents said they would be less inclined to use these services if they’re going to get charged.
66 per cent of consumers surveyed during November in the US said they feel confident about their awareness and understanding of the concepts of ‘digital storage’, with almost the same number understanding what ‘cloud storage means (61 per cent). However, there is a discrepancy between perceived and actual knowledge. Those who currently engage in file sharing seem to be more confident than those who don’t.
47 per cent the 502 people surveyed said they currently access file-sharing software. Of those, music sharing is used the most often, followed by photo sharing and then movie sharing. Television shows, videos, and other files are shared less frequently.
What is fascinating about the findings is how file-sharing use differs in popularity between age groups. For example, music sharing is most popular with the 18-14 age group (51 per cent engage in this), whereas photo sharing is most popular with the 50-59 group (30 per cent). Video sharing is most popular with the 25-34 group (11 per cent), and general file sharing (i.e. not multimedia) is most popular with the 35-49 group. It all makes perfect sense when you think about it, but it’s good to have this hard evidence to back up our assumptions.
Consumers across age groups apparently download and stream movies and TV shows at least once per month or more.
The top three devices for this are computers (96 per cent), game consoles (68 per cent) and smartphones (62 per cent).
Nearly 90 per cent of survey respondents are “somewhat” to “very interested” in the concept of storing and accessing content from a digital library. In terms of what they would store, movies and TV shows were ranked as the top two content types (72 per cent had movies in their top two, and 48 per cent had TV shows), driven mainly by the 50-59 age group. Music was marginally less popular, with 43 per cent of respondents ranking it one or two, driven mainly by the 18-24 group.
Translating this “interest” into action resulted in a significant drop-out. Just over half of survey respondents expressed a willingness to actually use a digital storage library or locker in the future – driven primarily by the 50-59 age group. However, when presented with a possible fee for access and maintenance, 68 per cent of survey respondents got cold feet and said their willingness would be “somewhat” to “very much” affected.
Having a free service was the most important benefit of digital lockers, according to the study, with 28 per cent of respondents making it top of their list. This was followed by the ability to view content “wherever and on whatever device” (20 per cent), and “choice of how to view content – download, disc or via streaming” (19 per cent). According to Matt Lieberman, in charge of marketing for the Entertainment, Media, and Communications group:
“The top two perceived benefits – after the fact the service is free – are related to on-demand access. The findings from this research as well as our previous research on the topic show that consumers now expect on-demand access for premium content.”
In conclusion, the PWC survey found that consumers are interested in learning more about video content storage and delivery based on their desire for ubiquitous access to content on multiple devices. However, consumers lack a strong understanding of the benefits of video content digital lockers or the rights that come with ownership, and more importantly, they appear unwilling to pay for such services:
“The success of video content digital lockers will depend on whether companies can develop profitable offerings that match consumers’ preferences, and create focused marketing highlighting the value and benefits.”
There are a number of excellent graphs and charts in the report, called ‘Storing Entertainment Content in the Cloud’, which is available for free from PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ website.
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