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ZenithOptimedia is pleased to announce the publication of its new report, the New Media Forecasts. We have identified the top 19 digital markets across the world, ranked according to a combination of absolute size and percentage of total adspend taken by internet expenditure. We have then examined how consumers in these markets use digital media; how internet advertising, social media and e-commerce are developing; and how quickly new media technologies are being adopted.

Within these 19 markets (see the following page for a complete list) we have tracked the adoption of three new media technologies – IPTV, smartphones and tablets – and forecast their penetration to 2015.

Penetration of new media technology across 19 advanced markets (%)

Across these markets smartphones are the most prevalent device, with an average 36% penetration in 2012. Smartphone penetration varies widely among our 19 markets, from 73% in Sweden to 18% in Brazil. In all markets penetration is rising rapidly, and we forecast it to double to 72% across all 19 markets by 2015, reaching 33% in Brazil and 93% in Sweden.

Tablet penetration averaged 5% in 2012, but exceeded 15% in five markets: Australia, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA. By 2015 we expect penetration to average 13% across the 19 markets, but to range as high as 45% in France and 50% in Ireland.

IPTV is the slowest-growing of the three technologies; we expect its average penetration to rise by 36% between 2012 and 2015, from 6.6% to 9.0%. IPTV also has the widest range of adoption among our 19 markets; by 2015 we expect its penetration to reach 91% in the Netherlands, but remain at 1% in Russia.

Ranking by adoption of new media technology

Looking at the individual markets, Norway had the highest average penetration in 2012, thanks to its high take-up of smartphones (65%, compared to an average 44% in these 19 markets) and tablets (13%, compared to a 9% average). Sweden and Denmark also feature in the top five, reflecting Scandinavia’s traditional consumer enthusiasm for the internet and digital media. In fact, despite the continued economic troubles in the region, all of the top five markets were in Western Europe. The highest-ranked market from outside Western Europe was Canada, in sixth place. Australia, in seventh place, was the highest-placed market from Asia Pacific, while Hungary was the highest-placed from Central & Eastern Europe, at 16th. Brazil, at 17th, is the only Latin American market among our top 19.

By 2015, however, we expect the Netherlands to take the top position. This is thanks to its extremely rapid adoption of IPTV, which broadband providers are competing to offer as a value-added service to take advantage of the fast-paced build-out of new fibre-optic infrastructure. The swift growth of IPTV has already started eroding the number of subscribers to cable and satellite TV. We estimate that in 2012 27% of households in the Netherlands had IPTV, up from 10% in 2010. By 2015 we forecast IPTV to be in 91% of Dutch households. This is much higher than the penetration we forecast in the second-ranked market for IPTV – Canada, where we forecast 69% penetration in 2015.

We forecast Ireland to climb the fastest up the rankings, from 11th place in 2012 to third in 2015. Ireland is adopting all three technologies very quickly, most notably tablets, which we expect 50% of the population to have access to in 2015. The Irish government is investing in providing tablets to schools, which is increasing their availability and indirectly encouraging sales by making parents familiar with their advantages.

We expect Western Europe to remain at the forefront of the adoption of new media technology, accounting for four of the top five and seven of the top ten markets in 2015. Canada, in fifth place, is the highest-ranked market outside Western Europe, while Australia and South Korea come in at eighth and ninth. The US, despite its wealth and stronger economic growth, is buying into these technologies less rapidly, and we expect it to slip down the rankings from 12th place in 2012 to 14th in 2015, as high subscription prices slow the uptake of smartphones.  Central & Eastern Europe lags behind, with Hungary and Russia in 18th and 19th place respectively in 2015.

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