by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Half of Northern Ireland adults will be paying for at least 4 online-only media subscriptions, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, by the end of 2020, a business event in Belfast was told today. Speaking at Deloitte’s Annual TMT Predictions Breakfast in Belfast, the firm’s Global Head of Research for technology, media and telecommunications, Paul Lee, outlined key findings from Deloitte’s 2018 TMT Predictions Report including augmented reality, digital media subscriptions, machine learning and the future of the smart phone.

He said that half of all adults in developed countries currently have at least two online-only media subscriptions across TV, music, news and video games, but the rapid growth in demand for these services means this will increase to four per person by the end of 2020.

On the flipside of the equation, the report says traditional TV viewing by 18-24 year-olds will decline by 10%-15% in 2018 and 2019, though the rate of decline may lessen after that.

Paul Lee said: “The subscription model is not new but it is being successfully refreshed and invigorated for the digital consumer. Indeed, the growing adoption of digital-only subscriptions is a clear indication of consumers showing increasing willingness to pay for content online, rather than relying on ad-funded media only.

“The growing capability of online delivery – from robust hosting to faster broadband speeds – are making digital media ever more compelling than traditional alternatives. For music, the first wave of digital transformation was about making CD collections portable: with today’s technology, music fans can enjoy a pocket-sized jukebox of tens of millions of tracks wherever they have connectivity.”

In the UK, Deloitte estimates there are about 26 million media online-only subscriptions and the most successful providers are those who make their subscription process easy from every type of device.

That overwhelming demand for control over the content that we can access is also driving another of the major consumer trends highlighted in the report – the expected rise in Wifi on airplanes.

Deloitte predicts that globally, one billion air passenger journeys – a quarter of all passengers – are expected to be on planes fitted with in-flight connectivity (IFC) in 2018. This is a 20% increase from the previous year and Deloitte predicts the technology will be widely available within only a few years.


Danny McConnell, Deloitte Technology Partner in Belfast said: “For three-quarters of air travellers at present, being on a plane means disconnection from the world, whether or not they want that.


“In 2018, the airline industry will commence a significant step-change. Newer aircraft and improved telecommunications technology will mean that connectivity will not only improve, but it will also become cheaper and, as a result, IFC is likely to become standard. The plane, too, will be connected – and the majority of passengers will be delighted by this and will express their happiness on social networks from 35,000 feet up.


“We expect that demand for in-flight connectivity among consumers will soar – the majority of people relish being connected, and will happily pay to connect as one of the paying in-flight options offered to air travellers.”

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Paul Lee, Deloitte’s Global Head of Research for TMT and (R)Danny McConnell, Deloitte Technology Partner at Deloitte’s Annual TMT Predictions Breakfast in Belfast in Belfast.


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