A new survey from market research firm Parks Associates has found that few consumers in the U.S. are satisfied with the videos they download from the Internet. Just 16% say the selection of videos available online is good, and only 13% say video downloads are sold at a reasonable price. Most tellingly, fewer than one in five consumers downloading video say they plan to download videos again in the future.
Consumers generally download video from one of two sources: peer-to-peer networks that offer unauthorized copies of TV programs and films, or licensed online services like iTunes. Low satisfaction levels might be expected for consumers using unlicensed sources because their quality and reliability are generally low-a consequence of being an unlicensed service. Yet even consumers who exclusively use legitimate services are unhappy with the experience (see figure below).
“People don’t see a reason to use video downloading services,” said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. “Sure, it saves a trip to the video store, but it takes longer, looks worse, and you end up watching it on a 17″ screen. No wonder consumers are dissatisfied with the experience.” He noted that niche markets will emerge, but mainstream consumers will remain lukewarm about the video download experience. Good news for DVD makers, perhaps, but certainly not the feedback that online distributors like Apple are hoping to hear.