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Survey: Broadband Users Eager to Try Home Media Options

18 May, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

Consumers with broadband connections still value traditional visual media like theatrical movies and DVDs, but they are experimenting eagerly with new technologies and delivery methods, according to a survey by market research firm In-Stat/MDR.

Many consumers with broadband connections have used online movie download services, own a personal video recorder (PVR, also called a digital video recorder or DVR) such as TiVo or Replay TV, or have their personal computers connected to in-home networks, the survey found.

“Media-savvy consumers want what they want, when they want it, and are willing to experiment with new options as they become available,” said Gerry Kaufhold, a principal analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "These consumers are continually feeling out new sources and opportunities, as well as re-evaluating the quality of their existing experiences, making themselves a moving target for those who wish to sell, rent, lease or otherwise profit from owning professional entertainment content."

    The In-Stat/MDR survey also found that:

  • There is clearly a reduction in the number of subscriptions topremium TV services, such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz Encore, etc.The relatively strong rates of usage for pay-per-view (PPV) and video-on-demand (VOD) may indicate that survey respondents do not see the value proposition of having a short list of about 50 movies available in a monthly rotation.

  • Broadband consumers, especially those in the upper range of annual household incomes, are tuning out network television programming. Nearly 30 percent of respondents reported watching less network TV programming this year than last.

  • About 42 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay something to get network TV programming commercial free. Half of these said they would pay $5 per month or more, to get networkprogramming commercial free.

  • A “surprisingly large” percentage – 31 percent of the men and 23.3 percent of women – among respondents said they had already burned a DVD on their own at home.

Meanwhile, a new report from Lyra Research, “DVR Love: A Survey of Digital Video Recorder Users,” found consumer satisfaction with TV viewing increased dramatically with the use of a PVR.

While 7 percent of survey respondents said they were extremely satisfied before acquiring their PVR, that percentage increased to 72 percent after. The report, based on an Internet survey of more than 600 PVR users in the United States conducted by Lyra's DTV View group in spring 2004, finds this increased satisfaction trend across all demographic cross tabulations, including those by age, gender, income and education level.

“The reported leap in satisfaction provided by mass-market penetration of the technology indicates that the appeal of DVRs will not be limited to early adopters,” said Steve Hoffenberg, principal analyst for the new DTV View report series and Lyra's director of Electronic Media Research. “Based on the results of this survey, we consider the DVR to be a rare, genuine breakthrough product that will significantly impact people's lives. However, given the frequent use of DVRs for fast-forwarding past commercials, the TV advertising industry needs a breakthrough of equal magnitude.”

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