Network TV Schedules in Trouble, but Audiences Loyal to Programs

May 9, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Europe & Middle East | Global & Regional | Media & Entertainment | Television | Youth & Gen X

Consumers are growing disenchanted with their television experience but are nonetheless loyal to their favorite programs, showing a marked preference for content over its delivery method, according to Accenture‘s inaugural Global Broadcast Consumer Survey.

Although television remains the predominant mass communications device worldwide, with 97% of respondents watching TV in a typical week, consumption patterns vary based on geography, age and socio-economic status, the survey found.

The younger the viewers, the greater their propensity to enjoy watching TV on a PC and mobile device:


Overall, some 70% of consumers watch four or more television programs a week, and 71% of them watch programs on four or more television channels, demonstrating that consumers are more loyal to the content rather than the branded distribution channel, Accenture said:


This affords an opportunity for content creators, studios and networks to begin delivering content to consumers on multiple channels and through multiple devices creating new ways to interact with consumers and entirely new revenue streams, it concluded.

Among the key findings of the study:

  • The survey also found that while 83% of the respondents expressed discontent with watching “live” (e.g., broadcast or cable) TV, a third (33%) are still watching eight or more programs per week, including 41% of American and 39% of British consumers.
  • In the United States, 46% of 18-24-year-olds view content via mobile devices; but there is considerably less interest among those 55 and older (19%).
  • Consumers have already developed some ideas about what type of content fits best on which alterative device:
    • 27% would enjoy watching full TV episodes on their PCs. Fewer would like to receive program highlights (16%) or shortened versions of TV episodes.
    • 27% would like to receive public service info and 26% would watch new content not normally on TV.
    • 25% would watch content they themselves create.
  • 37% are willing to pay on some basis to download TV shows from a digital service, with half preferring a monthly fee for unlimited downloading and slightly fewer preferring to pay for a season of a particular show. But 33% prefer to pay nothing in return for watching advertisements within the downloaded programs.
  • A large number of programs are watched on alternative devices in a typical week. One in three adults in the eight countries access programs via an alternative device in a typical week, with Italy (41percent), France (36%) and Spain the highest (35%), while Brazil is the lowest (17%). Six out of 10 adults said they would enjoy watching some content via their PCs.
  • Consumers are beginning to discern the genres they prefer to watch “Live” or “On Demand.”? Nearly one-half (46%) of consumer prefer to watch sports and news “live.” 23% of consumers prefer to watch dramas and situation comedies “on demand.”
  • TV commercials are what respondents disliked most about “live” TV. Commercials are by far the top complaint (64%), followed by not being able to “rewind” (40%) and not being able to watch programs at the viewer’s convenience (38%).? Much less troublesome are unappealing content (14%), and being unable to watch programs away from home (8%), to interact (7%) or to rate programs (7%).

About the data: The Accenture report presents the findings of online surveys undertaken, using a common questionnaire, in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The online research was conducted using national omnibus service among demographically representative samples of approximately 1,000 adults in the six countries previously mentioned. Interviews were also conducted in Brazil and Mexico by telephone because omnibus services are not available.? A total of 500 interviews were conducted in each of these countries in major cities in order to attempt to obtain a representative sample of each country. The age of adults reached by an online omnibus differs by country in Europe, where adults 16-54 were interviewed in Italy and Spain and adults 16-64 were interviewed in France, Germany and the UK.? In the US, a national online omnibus reaches adults 18 and older. In Brazil and Mexico, the telephone survey was conducted among adults 18-64.

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