10/05/2012 04:09 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2012

Digital Lockers and the Consumer: A Little Schoolin' Will Go a Long Way

Growing interest in video content digital lockers is fueled by increasing consumer demand for mobile access to content across multiple devices. Greater consumer education on digital locker benefits are needed, and opportunity exists to drive adoption by promoting content sharing.The growing interest in video content digital lockers is being fueled by consumers' desire for mobile access to content, especially the ability to stream, download and share content on multiple devices, according to a new PwC report titled, "Storing Entertainment Content in the Cloud."

Based on an online survey of approximately 502 U.S. participants and focus groups, consumers appear to be more informed about digital lockers, and many seem keenly interested in learning more about video content storage and delivery especially as it relates to the rights they are obtaining. According to PwC, the success of digital lockers will depend on whether companies can match the benefits with consumers' interests ensuring they fully understand the value of digital lockers for all content types.

Among key findings on the evolving consumer sentiments towards digital lockers:

  • Nearly 90 percent of survey respondents are "somewhat" to "very interested" in the concept of digital lockers. Among those who are "very interested," the oldest age group (50-59) expressed significantly more interest than the younger two age groups (18-24; 25-34). In focus group discussions, all age groups were more interested in accessing content from a digital locker when rentals were available.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the consumers surveyed said they feel confident about their awareness and understanding of the concepts of both digital and cloud storage. Those who engage in file sharing seem to be more confident than those who don't, supporting the notion that those who engage in file sharing have a better understanding of digital lockers.
  • Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated that they would purchase more content, as opposed to rent, if purchased content only was accessible via a digital locker/library. This illustrates a potential shift in consumer behavior towards content ownership.
  • Consumers across varied age groups continue to be heavily engaged in downloading and streaming movies and TV shows at least once per month, if not more. The top three devices for downloading and streaming content are computers (96 percent), game consoles (68 percent), and smartphones or other devices with phone capabilities (62 percent).
  • Of the five types of content the focus group respondents considered, movies and TV shows were ranked as the top two most likely to be stored in a hypothetical digital locker/library. Seventy-two percent of respondents listed "movies" as their first or second ranked content format most likely to be stored in a digital locker, heavily driven by the 50-59 age group.
  • The benefit of getting the digital locker for free is most important to consumers. Consumers are currently averse to paying for digital locker storage/access, and attempts to implement costs will likely be met by consumer backlash. Storing existing personal content is interesting to consumers, and can potentially be used as a catalyst for introducing a fee.

To learn more about PwC's ongoing consumer research program which gains directional insights on consumer attitudes and behaviors in the rapidly changing media landscape, please visit