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NAB 2009: Accenture Study Sees Growing Interest in Traditional TV

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There was some good news for both broadcast and cable TV in a new global TV consumption survey, released Monday as the National Association of Broadcasters opened its annual convention in Las Vegas.

Viewing of all media content, including TV, is growing "across all platforms," according to global consulting firm Accenture's second Global Broadcast Consumer Survey, which polled at least 1,000 viewers across 13 countries including the U.S.

Accenture found the most signficant conclusion to be that, despite audience fragmentation, interest in content on traditional TV platforms is growing.

But interest is also growing in other palftorms. The number of people who said they would watch TV on a computer increased from 61% in the initial survey to 74% this time around. Interest in viewing on mobile devices was up from 32% in 2008 to 45% in 2009.

One finding suggested there could be a big growth market in mobile content in developing countries. Interest in mobile content in Mexico, Brazil and Malaysia (from 65% to 71% interested) was almost three times that of the U.S. UK, or Germany (ranging from 22% to 26%).

Subscription services like cable continue strong despite the weak economy, Accenture said. According to the survy, 49% said they would be willing to pay for digital programming, up from 37% last year. Only four in 10 said they would prefer to watch ads in exchange for getting their content free.

Subscription models also topped pay-per-play in all age groups, with 25% wanting to pay a fee for unlimited programming, only 12% wanting to pay per episode and even fewer (9%) preferring to pay per season.

Younger viewers are more willing to pay for content: 60% for those under age 25 compared to 38% for 55 and older. Interestingly, kids are also more willing to watch ads and get free content (45%) than are those over 55 (37%).

And while respondents said they planned to pay less for most content--DVDs, down six percentage points from last year; on-demand video, down 5 points; and mobile phone content down 3 points--subscription TV showed no change.

"This underscores the recession-resistant nature of subscripion models even in today's tough economic climate," said Accenture executive David Wolf in announcing the study.

And take notr broadcast promotion departments: According to the study, you are more valuable than ever. In a world of fragmented choices, finding the one you want is increasingly tough, said the survey respondents. Despite online and on-screen program guides, the top choice for figuring out what to watch was "commercials" (40%), followed by channel surfing (33%), recommendations from others (30%) and TV listings only 28%.

The survey was conducted in January and February of this year. Accenture polled almost 14,000 consumers 18-plus in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, the UK and U.S.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.