Broadband fragmenting Irish entertainment market

10 Oct 2007

The Irish entertainment and media industry growth is ahead of the pack, developing steadily at a rate of 5.7pc towards 2011, higher than the average developed economy, according to PricewaterhouseCooper’s latest Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report for 2007 to 2011.

However, the landscape of the market is changing rapidly according to Bartley O’Connor, the director of PriceWaterhouseCooper Ireland’s Entertainment & Media.

“Everything is converging, all things are being driven by increased broadband access and this year we’ve seen the kick-off of social networking sites which is a huge development.

“This has a huge impact for producers and distributors of content and for advertisers. It is probably one of the greatest changes going forward.”

O’Connor says that the traditional media are always going to be there for advertising but that more and more big brands are starting to look at new advertising models to get closer to the customer and benefit from this market fragmentation.

“Before this everyone was watching the Late Late Show. Advertisers ran their ads during the Late Late Show and they reached most of the country.

“Now everyone is watching different things on YouTube, they’re on Facebook, the fragmentation of the market has implications for advertising as well as in entertainment and media themselves,” he said.

O’Connor points out that people are not watching television less, it is just that they are consuming more and more varied media overall. But because consumers are picking and choosing what they consume, advertising must be lifestyle-oriented if target markets are to be reached.

Although the Irish television distribution market grew by 9.4pc in 2006, and the filmed entertainment market less so, by 2.9pc, the battle of the high definition formats, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, leaves consumers cautious about investing in either emerging technology.

“As a consumer myself I wouldn’t go jumping into any technology format,” said O’Connor.

“Those in the know might decide ‘I’m going to hold back and wait and see which one is the winner because I don’t want to be buying into some technology that’s going to be gone in two years time’.”

Meanwhile he suggest that some people may be availing of broadband speeds to simply have digital downloads of films instead of a ‘hard copy’ like high-def DVDs.

By Marie Boran