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MSOs Are Preferred 'Digital Lifestyle' Providers: J.D. Power

About 45% of consumers said they would choose a cable operator’s “digital lifestyle” bundle with a wide variety of services -- including TV, Internet, phone, home security and home-energy management -- compared with just 19% who said they would prefer a telco, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study.

Cable operators’ “digital lifestyle” packages are particularly appealing to those renting an apartment or home, according to the research firm: Renters choose a cable provider 48% of the time, compared with 43% among homeowners, J.D. Power’s survey of 18,000 consumers found. Meanwhile, 17% of respondents said a security provider would be their first choice; 10% chose an energy provider; and 6% indicated they would rather purchase a system from a home electronics or home-improvement retailer and install it themselves.

Among major U.S. providers, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and AT&T have begun rolling out home security services to augment their traditional triple-play bundles, while Verizon Communications has introduced a "smart home" service in certain markets.

Most consumers prefer a pricing plan for a digital-lifestyle bundle that offers a lower upfront price and a monthly fee, as opposed to a higher initial price with no monthly fee (or to pay nothing up front but pay a recurring monthly fee), according to the survey.

"Consumers are looking for a way to consolidate invoicing and to manage their lives with easy-to-use digital packages," J.D. Power director of telecommunications Frank Perazzini said. "The challenge for consumers is finding an economically attractive service package that meets the feature and functional needs of their household."

J.D. Power’s study found that Gen X and Gen Y consumers were among those most willing to opt for a do-it-yourself project rather than having the system professionally installed. 

Energy management is becoming “an important pillar in the market for digital lifestyle services," added Christopher Perdue, director of J.D. Power’s smart energy practice.

The firm’s 2012 Digital Lifestyle Study, fielded earlier this month, is based on responses from more than 18,000 online panelists who are responsible for making their household decisions regarding home telecommunications, security and energy services.