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SAM research reveals knowledge gap between broadcasters and consumers as 4K technology enters the market

Newbury, January 24, 2017 - Snell Advanced Media (SAM), found that despite the pressure for broadcasters to invest in 4K technology, more than 60 percent (64%) of Americans still don’t know what 4K is. SAM also found that Millennials are most likely to know exactly what 4K is compared to any other age group, but that still accounts for less than one third of all 18-24 year olds (29%). Given that 4K is touted as the next evolution in image resolution, it’s crucial the knowledge gap between broadcasters and consumers continues to close and the consumer electronics industry embrace an ethos of transparency and education on what to expect in the new era of 4K content.

The study, conducted with third party research firm YouGov, revealed not only consumer understanding of 4K, but what content Americans are making a point to watch live.

Millennials are embracing 4K, but comsumer awereness is low

Broadcasters have been preparing for 4K for some time now by upgrading their infrastructure and prepping content for enhanced formats. However, despite their focus on the evolving era of 4K, consumer understanding still lags.

  • Just 17 percent of U.S. adults are confident they’ve heard of 4K and know exactly what it is
  • However, millennials (18-24) are more familiar with 4K than any other age group, (29% said they knew exactly what 4K was) and a quarter of them (25%) had purposefully watched something in 4K in the past six months
  • It was no surprise then that just 11 percent of U.S. adults currently own a 4K TV, with half of those either yet to find it worthwhile or understand what it does
  • Though 17 percent of early millennials (25-34) actually own a 4K TV, the highest among all age groups
  • However, once educated on what 4K was, 41 percent of consumers said they would like to have a 4K TV

“At SAM, we frequently survey consumer sentiment to help us better understand the relationship between our customers and their audience. It was evident from our research that even though 4K is a huge industry buzzword, and something many broadcasters have already begun preparing to deliver to consumers, most Americans don’t quite know what that entails. The knowledge gap between broadcaster and customer revealed by our research goes to show that finding the right formula to deliver and implement a winning 4K strategy is the key to broadcasters’ success,” said Neil Maycock, EVP & General Manager, Media Software Solutions at SAM.

Reimagining Live Content

4K is not the only advancement in technology changing the way broadcasters approach content creation and distribution. Increasing consumer reliance on social media and multiple devices or platforms has dramatically influenced the way broadcasters need to approach live coverage.

Sports broadcasters are live TV champions

  • 65% of Americans thought a recent high-profile TV event was important enough to watch live. Among them, more Americans made it a priority to watch Super Bowl 50 live (61%) than they did any primary election results (36%)
  • Three times as many Americans overall watched Super Bowl 50 live than the 2016 Grammys (39% to 13%)

“In particular, sports networks have a significant opportunity to capitalize on the attention they receive from live viewing, as we’ve seen with high profile arrangements like the NFL live streams on Twitter”, Maycock added. “At SAM, we anticipate significant traction on this front over the next year as more sports broadcasters experiment with technology to help them spread the word about live events. We expect to see them making every effort to push live sports content to more channels, faster, all with the quality consumers come to expect from their televisions.”

Research Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,146 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between June 2nd - 3rd, 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).



Bénédicte Fauveau

Media Relations Specialist