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Television and Video Consumer Preference


In December of 2007 ABI Research conducted an online survey of 1002 television and video consumers in the United States. Its aim was to measure the American consumer viewing, content and service purchasing habits or preferences -- information of critical importance to all members of today's video entertainment value chain.

While the survey draws no single conclusion and does not generalize about typical TV or video consumption, it reveals some surprising facts about viewer's attitudes and activities.

A full 66 percent subscribe to some form of pay-TV service, and of those, 60 percent receive at least one additional service (telephone, Internet etc.) from their provider. However, only 54 percent of respondents declared themselves satisfied overall with their providers -- pricing and customer service are the biggest sources of discontent.

But Janet Wise, director of primary research for ABI, notes that given that nearly 30 percent of all respondent reasons for choosing their providers involved a lack of choice or unawareness of alternatives, perhaps providers do not have to worry just yet.

That said, 41 percent of TV owners have a high-definition TV -- but surprisingly, only 56 percent of this group subscribe to a HD service package. ABI Research senior analyst Cesar Bachelet advises that, "Pay-TV operators need to close this gap by highlighting what HDTV owners without a HD package are missing out on."

A substantial 45 percenet of viewers say they use pay-per-view, but not often -- most do so just once a month or less. "Low pay-per-view use poses a key challenge for pay-TV operators," says Bachelet.

Generally, interest in next generation TV services is low (although greater in younger viewers), with the one exception being the ability to move content sourced from the Internet from the PC to the TV.

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are owned by a significant minority of users, with the result, says Bachelet, that, "Alliances with games console manufacturers (e.g. IPTV services through Xbox 360) could represent a significant opportunity for online content or gaming services."

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