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66 Million Digital ”Convergent Consumers” In Europe By 2005

LONDON – A report by interactive media consulting group Digiscope, published by Phillips Global Media, has highlighted the rapid expansion of a new digital-based market of
‘convergent consumers’ in Europe over the next five years. By 2005,
projections suggest there will be nearly 70 million ‘convergent
consumers’ in Europe, using all three key digital platforms of digital
TV, mobile/wireless and Internet, growing rapidly from a small base at
the end of 1999 of only 1.6 million. (The figure excludes customers
only using one or two of the three platforms.)

According to the report – Digital TV, Internet & Mobile Convergence –
developments and projections for Europe – convergence as widely
understood, is still many years away and faces considerable cultural and
technological hurdles. The real significance in the short to medium term
of convergence, is the development of the ‘convergent consumer’, and the
way digital platforms allow a much more sophisticated, interactive and
responsive relationship with the customer.

Barry Flynn, the author of the report and a leading new media
commentator said, “the message of the report is 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.”

He added, “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.”

Using the concept of ‘critical digital mass’, the report uses data from
across Europe on the penetration of digital TV, Internet and mobile
communications to develop a Digiscope Convergence Index for each territory, as well as assessing the cross-platform infrastructure capabilities of 11 key markets across Europe, both in
1999 and 2005.

The Digiscope Convergence Index provides a guide to the
European markets that are best suited to the introduction of services
targeted at the convergent customer. These show that Scandinavia and
the UK have the highest penetration of cross platform consumers and the
best overall infrastructures across the three platforms, with Belgium
and Italy the worst.

Biographical note

Barry Flynn, the author of the report, is a leading new media commentator with over 20 years experience in TV and print journalism as well as strategic new media consultancy. He is the author of a number of major management reports on digital TV including Digital TV, Internet and Mobile Convergence – Developments and Projections for Europe; Digital Television Broadcasting – drivers for growth and pattern of uptake, and Application Programming Interfaces – implications for interactive TV in Europe. He has edited and written for many leading new media publications. Before joining Digiscope as a senior consultant, he was a founding member of strategic consultancy Informed Sources.

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