Content Connectors: How The Coming Digital Content Revolution Will Change Everything

Photo of Mark Mulligan
by Mark Mulligan

Approximately 35 million Content Connector devices have already been sold globally and according to a MIDiA Research consumer survey 10% of adult consumers now own one across the US, UK and Brazil. The US is the leading market with 13% penetration. Content Connector owners are more twice as likely as overall consumers to pay for digital content. 51% pay for video subscriptions like Netflix and 50% pay for digital music. The fact that 48% are female, indicates that this is a technology category with true mainstream appeal (niche technologies typically have a young male skew).

Home content consumption is stuck in silos between smartphones and tablets and the TV. Content Connectors break down these silo walls by bringing digital content to the living room’s main entertainment device. They disrupt TV broadcasters by getting online video onto the TV and also TV manufacturers by turning dumb TVs into smart TVs, thus neutering already weak sales of expensive Smart TVs.

Apple, Google and Amazon are digital content’s power brokers and Content Connectors will increase their influence dramatically. Amazon, Apple and Google have highly diverse ambitions but are each willing to loss lead on at least one of device and content to establish their living room foothold. Consumers, presented with highly affordable device and content pricing will adopt both in droves.

Google is the most interesting of the three big tech companies. Content and device strategy both matter to Google but less so than to either of its two peers. Google’s end game is consumer data, being able to paint the 360 degree picture of the consumer and to build advertising and other business around that information. Thus we see Google clearly loss leading with Chromecast but with no particularly bold ambition for paid content.

Smartphones and tablets did a great job of getting paid content kick started but the market will transform in scale and appeal when it gets onto mainstream consumers’ TVs. Content Connectors will transform the face of paid content across all content genres. In fact, they are an iPad moment for the mainstream living room.

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