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IBM survey maps consumers' digital behavioral personalities

A new IBM study of the media and entertainment market reveals that, as consumers adopt an increasing number of digital devices, four distinct new "digital personalities" are emerging. This shift is compelling companies to adopt more innovative business models that deliver personalised experiences.

The Beyond Digital study released at the 2012 NAB Conference, paints a portrait of a rapidly changing audience that is adopting a wide range of digital devices at a fast pace. And, contrary to popular belief, most are not college students.

For example, 65% of respondents aged 55 to 64 report surfing the Web and texting with friends while watching TV. Of those over age 65 watching TV, 49% surf the Web and 30% are texting. Eighty-two percent of surveyed global consumers aged 18 to 64 are embracing connected digital devices. Moreover, consumers in China and the US are moving away from traditional forms of media, with more than 50% using online sources for breaking news.

According to the IBM study, most users fall into one of four emerging personality categories:

Efficiency Experts With 41% in this category, these respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.

Content Kings They are generally male consumers who frequently play online games, download movies and music, and watch TV online. This audience represents 9% of the global sample.

Social Butterflies These respondents place emphasis on social interaction - they require instant access to friends, regardless of time or place. Some 15% of consumers surveyed reported they frequently maintain and update social networking sites, add labels or tags to online photos, and view videos from other users.

Connected Maestros 35% of those surveyed take a more advanced approach to media consumption by using mobile devices and smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.

"Media companies need to engage with consumers based on their digital personalities, if they are going to maintain a sustainable and connected relationship," said Saul Berman, Global Strategy Consulting Leader, IBM Global Business Services, and co-author of the study. "With the mass infiltration of digital devices, organizations can now enhance, extend or redefine the customer experience within minutes due to a steady stream of real-time data via social media. Future success is dependent upon successfully executing on insights based on this data, to reach the right consumer, at the right time and place, using the right tools."

According to the IBM study, media and entertainment companies' payment infrastructures need to be flexible and scalable to allow a variety of innovative pricing approaches to attract consumers with different preferences to their content. The need for payment option flexibility, even for the same set of consumers, is apparent by looking at those most active in adopting new devices, says the study.

This group's preferred mode of payment to watch a movie on a website is by viewing advertising that is included with the movie (39% of this segment chose this option), while they prefer to see movies on a tablet by purchasing a subscription (chosen by 36%). But to watch movies on a smart phone, they prefer to pay per use (the payment choice of 36%).

IBM surveyed 3,800 consumers in six countries - China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - and also met with global representatives in broadcasting, publishing, as well as media service agencies, and telecommunication providers, to evaluate digital consumption behaviors.

Story filed 19.04.12

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