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Only Half of HDTV Owners Subscribe to HD Channels

US TV Viewers Embrace High Definition (Sort of); Rarely Use Pay-Per-View, According to ABI Research Survey

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 American consumers’ viewing and content/service purchasing habits and 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/video consumption, it reveals some surprising facts about viewer’s attitudes and activities.

66% subscribe to some form of pay-TV service, and of those, 60% receive at least one additional service (telephone, Internet etc.) from their provider. However, only 54% 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, notes that, “Given that nearly 30% of all respondents’ reasons for choosing their providers involved a lack of choice or unawareness of alternatives, perhaps providers do not have to worry just yet.”

41% of TV owners have a high-definition TV, but surprisingly, only 56% 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% 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/ gaming services.”

ABI Research’s Multi-Channel Video Survey Results form part of the firm’s Multi-Channel Video Research Service

ABI Research is a leading market research firm focused on the impact of emerging technologies on global consumer and business markets. Utilizing a unique blend of market intelligence, primary research, and expert assessment from its worldwide team of industry analysts, ABI Research assists hundreds of clients each year with their strategic growth initiatives. For information, visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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