Europe Expects 40-Fold Increase in “Convergent Consumers”

[London, ENGLAND] A new report to be published in December
by Phillips Global Media says that over the next five years
there will be a huge increase in the number of Europeans
who use all three main digital platforms, namely digital
TV, mobile devices, and the Internet.

Calling them “convergent consumers,” the report says
they will grow rapidly from a small base of just 1.6 million
at the end of 1999 to nearly 70 million by 2005 — a
40-fold increase over the period.

Produced for PGM by interactive media consulting group
Digiscope, the report says that real, technological
convergence of the different media is still a long
way off. However, in the meantime, we can expect to
see many more convergent consumers with whom companies
can build relationships via the three main digital platforms.

The report’s author Barry Flynn warned that many of the
perceived values of convergence are actually years away.

“If anything, digital has brought more fragmentation of
service than convergence. However, Europe is rapidly
developing a significant market of convergent consumers.
The new digital platforms allow a much more sophisticated
development of the customer relationship, tracking and managing
their likes and dislikes across platforms,” said Flynn.

Earlier this week, Peter Job, chief executive of news agency
Reuters, made the point that on the Internet “content is no
longer king,” and that companies have to offer much more
than content to survive in these competitive markets. Flynn
made a similar point during the announcement of his report,
explaining that in the new convergent marketplace, consumer meta
content (content about consumers) is going to be as important
as content itself.

“The owners of meta content are going to be extremely powerful
in the new convergent marketplace and companies such as BSkyB,
Vivendi, NTL, Vodafone and UPC look particularly well positioned
to exploit this rapidly growing marketplace,” said Flynn.

In producing the report, Digiscope assessed the cross-platform
infrastructure capabilities of 11 key markets across Europe.
Results showed that Scandinavia and the U.K. have the highest
penetration of cross platform consumers together with the best
overall infrastructures across the three platforms. Belgium and
Italy came at the bottom of the list.

The report, entitled “Digital TV, Internet & Mobile Convergence
– developments and projections for Europe,” will be available for
purchase in early December.

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