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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Tech-Savvy Consumers Have Huge Appetites for Anything Entertainment -- and That Bodes Well for the Future of Packaged Media

16 May, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

A new study from Centris, the consumer research house, joins a growing chorus of research reports that all conclude the more high-tech the household, the more rabid the consumption of movies.

"The Broadband Subscriber Profile," which Centris is about to publish, maintains consumers with high-speed Internet access are more likely to rent VHS cassettes and own DVD players than their dial-up peers. They are also more likely -- by a huge margin, 30% -- to order pay-per-view movies and other programming.

This jibes with other studies -- including Video Store Magazine's own Consumer Survey -- that indicate tech-savvy consumers have huge appetites for anything entertainment, regardless of the delivery channel.

This bodes well for the future of packaged media, particularly amid growing concerns that we're running out of leisure time.

Conventional wisdom would indicate that the more time consumers spend on the Internet, the less time they have to digest other media. Another new study, from Scarborough Research, underscores this line of thinking. Of 2,000 Internet users surveyed, 43%, or nearly half, say they now use at least one offline medium -- television, radio, newspapers, magazines -- less since they began using the Internet.

But movies are somehow immune from this. Indeed, it appears the opposite is true, with study after study advancing the theory that as more electronic delivery options come into play, the pie will only get bigger.

This is not to say, however, that there's nothing but blue skies ahead.

You have to remember that the people who are now getting high-speed Internet access are the early adopters, the same demographic that snapped up DVD players the moment they appeared on the market. And this early adopter demo wants it all, right now -- as evidenced by reports in DVD's first two years on the market that consumers who bought a player also picked up, on average, 22 discs.

Now that DVD is fast entering the mainstream, however, this software buy rate is declining. Last hear, from reliable retail sources, I heard it was an average of 16 discs per player sold; now, it's down to about eight.

As high-speed Internet access hits mainstream America, I fully expect this enthusiasm for movies to be tempered as well.

But as with DVD, I'm keeping my fingers crossed than when the dust does settle, we're still going to be somewhere in positive territory.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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