Tuning In To Cable, Media & Entertainment Research


In the past two decades, consumers have shown themselves to be open to integrating new technology, as evidence by the widespread, global adoption of the Internet, the proliferation of DVD players, and the rising interest in portable MP3 players. However, recent research shows that the cable, media and entertainment industries have not yet conquered the competitive landscape and built consumer awareness, familiarity, and interest in purchasing the next generation of entertainment and information technology.

The results of three surveys about three different buzz-worthy technologies--digital video recorders (DVRs), high-definition television (HDTV), and interactive television (iTV)--reveal that there is still work to be done to translate the hype into purchase intentions. Savvy marketers are using this market research to identify target markets beyond the classic early adopter profiles and impact the core group of consumers with effective strategies to educate consumers and grow their market share.

DVR A study of consumer awareness of and interest in digital video recorders (DVRs, also known as PVRs or by the popular brand name TiVo) revealed that 70% of Americans have heard of a digital recorder and almost one-half (48%) have heard of the TiVo brand. The high awareness levels can be largely attributed to high profile endorsements and huge hype (from Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno and Sports Illustrated magazines, to name a few). These figures are the result of a study undertaken prior to the `most TiVo'd' moment on television thus far--Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's Super Bowl half-time show stunt--and the wave of resulting publicity likely boosted recognition of DVRs and, specifically, the TiVo brand.

However, DVR manufacturers and marketers need to move forward in the next phase of marketing: getting people interested and excited about DVRs to increase purchase consideration. Only one in ten said they were likely to purchase a DVR in the next twelve months.


Further, the industry needs to better communicate certain aspects of the technology: only 52% of those respondents who intend to purchase a DVR knew that DVRs can be used no matter how TV programming is obtained and only 32% believe the price of a DVR is reasonable (though DVRs are only $150 to $200). Manufacturers and suppliers may be able to convert a lot of purchase intenders by improving price perceptions and clearing up misconceptions about the technology.

HDTV High-Definition TV (HDTV) is a new cable, media and entertainment technology product that has successfully generated awareness among 76% of American consumers. However, few Americans are familiar with the features and benefits of HDTV. While more channels have HDTV programming and more cable and satellite operators have slotted HD channels into their line-up since last year, only 36% of survey respondents know anything about HDTV--a negligible increase of 2% over the prior year. In order to transition the large number of aware consumers into familiar consumers, marketers need to further educate consumers.

However, of the one-third (36%) of Americans familiar with HDTV, a substantial proportion (79%) have looked at HDTV in a retail store, and 15% are somewhat or very likely to get HDTV. This data reveals a significant opportunity for HDTV to convert interested consumers into purchasers, and highlight the role retailers play in the success of HDTV.

iTV One-half (50%) of Americans have heard of iTV, a two-way system where viewers can perform activities such as retrieve information, purchase products or play along with TV game shows using a remote or keyboard. Despite the hype, however, most people who are aware of the term do not know anything about it: only 11% of U.S. adults consider themselves somewhat or very familiar with iTV.


While the results are surprising given the amount of industry hype about iTV, what the results express most clearly is an opportunity. To capitalize on the awareness level of iTV and increase familiarity, marketers could identify customer segments to target with campaigns designed to communicate the features and benefits of iTV.

The myriad of entertainment choices creates a cluttered, confusing environment for consumers to navigate, and a challenge for cable operators, satellite providers, television programmers and content providers. These insights, based on recent survey results, uncover key consumer insights necessary for DVRs, HDTV, and iTV to navigate through information overload and reach consumers.

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