Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, March 20, 2008

U.S. Consumers Choosing Pay-TV by Price

ABI Research conducted an online survey of more than a thousand U.S. consumers aimed at discovering how people view their Pay-TV service providers -- what technologies and programming they use, and their price sensitivity towards available service offerings.

The TV viewing habits of American consumers can be baffling, yet service providers and equipment vendors are investing billions of dollars on how viewers will embrace triple- or quadruple-play services and demand IPTV offerings.

"Americans do a lot of time-shifting with PVRs, and a lot of gaming, and plenty of people have installed home theaters," reports ABI Research vice president Scan Schatt. "They are likely to consume a lot more video over the next several years."

Highlights of the ABI study include:

- 38 percent of respondents had home theater systems or game consoles attached to their televisions; nearly as many used DVRs, and only a few used network media adaptors or the Slingbox.

- More than 25 percent of respondents chose their pay-TV service provider on price. Convenience and promotional offers accounted for nearly as many, but programming quality and customer service mattered to only 15-20 percent.

- Mobile TV appealed to only 6 percent. More than one third of respondents would not pay for any of the common add-on services. When asked if they would watch ads in exchange for reduced or zero fees for premium content, there was little uptake on the reduced price option.

- Consumers also revealed a surprising ignorance about their systems. Many were unaware of what their equipment can actually do.

- At 65 percent, news clips are by far the most popular form of online video content, followed by movie trailers and user-generated content -- about 43 percent each.

- Only a few percent use pay-per-view services to watch moves more than once a week, with about 53 percent doing so only a few times a year.

- About 40 percent said they owned at least one High Definition TV, but fewer than half of those are paying for HD premium service packages.