Decipher MediaBug 2019

Decipher are very pleased to announce that 2019 will be the 10th consecutive year that we are running Mediabug.  Decipher’s  Media Bug has been our main online media research tool since 2015. It has been used by clients as varied as OFCOM, who include it in the annual MediaNations Report, and by a wide variety of media companies and agencies.

The key to the success of Media Bug has been Decipher’s understanding of devices and services which has let us structure our questionnaire to get under the skin of service and device adoption in the UK.  In particular, our ability to identify the correlation between platform use and device ownership.   In 2015 we were the first to identify that 65% of pay TV users were also using smart TV apps on the same screen – leading to many pay TV operators changing their approach to including apps on their platforms.

For 2019 new devices have been added including the ‘Nvidia Shield’ Android TV device as well as voice assistants like Amazon Echo and GoogleHome Assistant.


Television Research and the 12-18s: the FutureTV Viewers Speak

By Matt Walters – @matthew_walters –

Head and shouldersIt has become a recurring theme among observers of the TV industry that young people have rejected broadcast television and “don’t watch TV any more”.  The huge take up of alternative video formats and new devices is continually interpreted as evidence of this rejection. Recent analysis of viewing patterns and quantitative research from Ofcom and Thinkbox has shown that linear still plays a significant role in the viewing mix for young adults. These reports also show that over half of viewing amongst 12 – 18 year olds is now non-linear VoD and OTT.  While the new data has reset our understanding of “what” is happening, what we haven’t known until now is “why”; what is motivating this shift, and will it remain in the future? more “Television Research and the 12-18s: the FutureTV Viewers Speak”

Why Chimni?

You may have noticed Decipher people talking about our tech start up Chimni recently.  Launching a consumer facing platform business is a significant departure for Decipher but we have wanted to trial some ideas created in our ‘skunk works’ and this is the first new business to launch out of that process.

We plan for Chimni to grow into the next type of home ‘platform’ helping homeowners make sense of the increasing number of online accounts and digital service providers they encounter.

Chimni Blue Wall PictureUsing software and online services to run property is well established in the commercial world as modern office buildings have become ‘machine-like’ in their complexity.  Commercial Facilities Managers now expect to use software and data analysis as a natural part of running run buildings.  As our homes become more connected we can expect that behaviour to seep out of the commercial world and become normal in residential property.

This is not to say that we are not already using more and more apps at home.  To date, this has mainly been part of ‘Smart Home’ and ‘Internet of Things’ experimentation among early adopters.  However the potential for software and digital services to support our home life and management of our properties is much greater.   Around us, every organisation we encounter when running a home is going through its own digital revolution.  From estate agents and utilities, through to local authorities, they all want a digital relationship with us and for us to use their web sites and apps as primary customer interaction.

Recently, in a consumer research session for Chimni, we encountered a man with 17 apps on his phone that somehow related to his home. These included multiple utility apps, local authority services, his insurance and mortgage company apps and apps for a host of smart devices. Having recently bought his house he also had estate agent, conveyancer and house move apps.  He made the point in the research group that, as an early adopter of tech, he was willing to play around like this, but it wasn’t a long term solution to how he expected to manage his home.

We are in the early phases of these revolutions, so this kind of ‘app chaos’ is to be expected.  But this can’t be the long term solution.  After an initial explosion of apps and services, we can expect a period of rationalisation and tidy up. Chimni intend to part of this process and the Chimni team are already working with 500 trial users in West London and a group of local authorities to test integration.

EndPanelThere are still some difficult issues to resolve around who owns the data produced in the new digital services around our homes. There is still an assumption among many service providers that this is their data.  Services like Hive and Google Nest extract data from their connected devices and only make it available sparingly to householders.  Very slowly regulation and legislation is giving power to individuals to control their personal data, but we have yet to see equivalent regulatory focus on the data produced by assets like our homes. This will have to change to support homeowners.

The core idea behind Chimni is that any data produced about our homes, for our homes or by our homes (in the case of IoT services & devices) should be the property of the householder not the service provider.   Chimni is an attempt to give householders the tools to take control of that data and turn it into a valuable asset.  We envisage a time when a homeowner will handover data logs and passwords in the way that we currently handover physical keys and alarm codes.

The final challenge is to establish the role of the home in the emerging vision for Smart and Connected Cities. Chimni believe that the home is the basic building block of the smart city (or at least the smart suburb) and as homeowners we should look to contribute data and insight into the wider city intelligence being created.  So once we have established control of the data produced about, for and by our homes, we will be encouraged to share it, on our own terms, for mutual benefit. This will require our homes to connect intelligently to utilities and other networked services, and also to the systems that will need to be put in place by Local Authorities.  However, councils are currently struggling with legacy IT systems and budget constraints, so the private sector is going to have to step in and support them.

Chimni is intending to provide the bridge between the intelligent home and the Smart City.  Interaction between the home, local authorities and utilities will be a key element of the data services we are looking to provide.


Breaking Out of The Box

Sept 2011 - New NW BW Head & Shoulders (thumbnail)By Nigel Walley – @nwalley

The humble set top box – or STB – has come a long way since it was first introduced over 20 years ago.  Originally just a device intended to decode broadcast signals, many in our industry dismiss the discussion of the STB as a ‘tech’ issue.  However, the STB has emerged as one of the most important device classes in the consumer media landscape and once again is driving disruption and strategic change.

In the early years, viewers used content from pay boxes as a complement to their ‘normal’ TV viewing, just turning on the box when they wanted to access their pay channels. But over time set top boxes morphed a number of times into a new and much more influential driver of change in our industry.  more “Breaking Out of The Box”

New Mediabug report shows that SVOD is not cannibalising the UK Pay TV base

160504 hamishBy Hamish McPharlin

New research from Decipher has shown that Pay TV subscriptions have not only increased since 2012, but SVOD subscriptions are growing faster amongst Pay homes – and in particular those with Top Tier packages – than any other.


Decipher’s latest Mediabug report has thrown up the intriguing possibility that the arrival of SVOD services in the market may have actually helped, not hindered, the Pay TV market. The bi-annual analysis of 3,000 UK consumers tracks adoption and use of SVOD in both Pay TV and Free TV homes. This latest report shows that the total Pay TV base has continued to grow from 61% to 69% of the UK population over the last four years (FIGURE 1). During this time, SVOD usage in Pay TV homes has grown from 10% to 45%. This indicates than there is a growing cohort of UK consumers that are increasingly comfortable with both Pay TV and SVOD.

more “New Mediabug report shows that SVOD is not cannibalising the UK Pay TV base”

Streaming Devices Like Amazon Fire Are Now Driving OTT Use On The Big Screens In UK Television Homes

[Click Here To Download Free Summary Highlights]160504 hamish

Decipher have released the latest wave of their bi-annual Mediabug research into consumer media use. Now in its fifth year, the bi-annual report is based on an online consumer survey of 3000 UK consumers, and reports on how new technology is impacting media consumption.



For the first time, this Mediabug Wave has shown the impact of new low-cost streaming devices like Amazon Fire Stick, Roku and Google Chromecast in driving OTT VOD use onto the big screen in UK television homes.

more “Streaming Devices Like Amazon Fire Are Now Driving OTT Use On The Big Screens In UK Television Homes”

Contacts & Links

Chasing Sparrows In Marathi

We hear so many horror stories of fraud, malware and deceit on the internet that it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the overwhelming global good the internet has delivered. Sometimes this is a huge good, but most often it is the cumulative impact of lots of little ‘moments of goodness’. We want to share a small unimportant story that makes this case.

In 2016 Decipher will be launching a spin-out tech company based on some IP we have developed in-house. We recently went through the increasingly difficult process of deciding what to call the new company.  As most start-ups will tell you, in an increasingly globalised world there just aren’t many that words left that you can buy the rights for in all the relevant ways. more “Chasing Sparrows In Marathi”

Disney, Broadcasters and Direct-to-Consumer: A Whole New World?

By Matthew Walters – @matthew_walters –

“This is the future, in many respects…we’re seeing more and more opportunities to reach consumers directly, and not through middlemen…this [DisneyLife] is a great example of our strategy to utilise technology to connect with consumers in more direct and compelling ways, something that only Disney can do.”

 Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive, The Walt Disney Company
October 2015

Head and shouldersChristmas is almost upon us, and it seems apt as 25th December gets ever closer to be discussing the company behind some of the festive season’s most well-known films – think Santa’s Workshop (if you haven’t seen it, you must), think Tim Allen in The Santa Clause, and think Michael Caine’s Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol.  Many years and many miles from the streets of Dickensian London, it was on a fourth-quarter call with investors last month that Bob Iger – the man atop the Disney empire – fielded questions from analysts on two issues of strategic importance to Disney, one current and one future. more “Disney, Broadcasters and Direct-to-Consumer: A Whole New World?”