Don’t Get Suckered by Motorola “Study”

There’s lots of buzz within the blogosphere today about an “independent” study by Motorola that 45% of European now watch TV online. First, there’s no such thing as a truly independent study from a company that happens to supply equipment to watch TV online. Second, the “study” isn’t focused on the European population but 2,500 broadband users in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain. I guess Europeans and/or broadband users in Belgium, Scandanavia, Holland and Eastern Europe don’t count.

If you’re already suspicious or skeptical, the study breathlessly proclaims the “TV itself appears to be evolving from a static ‘box in the corner of the living room’ into an interactive entertainment and communications tool.” Well, wonders never cease, do they!?

And then there’s a “quote” from Karl Elliott, a Motorola executive (note: why is a Motorola executive quoted in an independent study?), who announces that “These results show that viewers across Europe are no longer satisfied with fitting into schedules dictated by broadcasters and are turning to the choice and flexibility offered by TV over the internet. We are witnessing a nation of citizen schedulers who are in control of their entertainment, allowing them to watch what they want, how and when they want it.”

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  • Vava

    Do PVRs not exist across the pond?

  • E Guy


    I do not know the research standards used in this survey but someone always sponsors research. There is always an agenda, some more obvious than others.

    Having said that, it does not mean that the research is not independent. Reputable research houses have strong ethical guidelines to follow and even though the research is sponsored, it does not mean the research results are not valid or do not meet an objective standard of high quality.

    Just because research is sponsored by Motorola and the results seem to favour Motorola’s business model, it does not necessarily mean the research has been compromised. It needs to be examined further to understand their methodologies employed to make a fair assessment of the integrity of the research process and thus, its results.

  • Mark Evans

    E Guy: Fair comment but you do have to be somewhat skeptical when research plays so nicely into your product strategy. I tried to find the actual study but fell short in my quest so settled for what appeared to be a press release.

  • b

    E Guy/ Mark,

    You’re both right. Without having more information on the methodology and how the study was conducted, it is unfair to criticize the survey based on who sponsored it.

    On the other hand, without any of that information, and with the only data being carefully selected stats provided by Motorola, you shouldn’t put much stock in the results.

    If it was completed by a professional market research firm, it will likely be conducted ethically and reputably. That doesn’t mean the selective data put out by Motorola accurately reflects the study’s findings. In fact, if the details are being kept hidden by Motorola, there is probably a reason.

    One more thing, a survey of 2,500 broadband users — those agreed to join some online survey panel — tells you nothing about the online habits of the general population. The best that could be said is something about 45% of broadband users in the countries targeted… and what they are doing depends on how the question was asked and in what context (which will colour respondent’s interpretation). For example, does it count when I watch Colbert clips on Youtube?

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  • Rob Evans

    firstly, Vava, yes PVR are here.

    Secondly, Mark is right, this survey isn’t a true picture, it’s rubbish to think that almost 1 in every 2 people watches TV online.

    It’s still a very very small percentage of people that watch telly online, and those are probably early adopters and pirates (bittorrented shows)

    PS. Vava, If you have any othe questions about what goes on over this side of the pond then just ask…happy to help

    However, most of Europe has higher broadband penetration than the US and higher mobile adoption than the US. So I’d expect Europe to reach such a number (45%) before the US.

    Rob in the UK.