RESEARCH: Viewers still prefer ‘live’ TV

Though connected TV technology can now be found in almost two in five TV households, Knowledge Networks findings reveal that viewers of all age groups still prefer “live” TV over “high-control” technologies. Among all connected TV viewers, almost half (47 per cent) say that watching a programme at its regular time is their first choice – with DVR usage coming in second at 23 per cent.

The research shows that connected TV homes are in many ways an advertiser’s dream. Compared to those without connected TV, viewers in connected homes are more likely to be male, young, have kids, and have higher median household incomes. Not surprisingly, homes with connected TVs are also more likely to have almost all types of TV technology, including HDTVs and DVRs.

But a preference for live viewing is still evident within all generations; among connected TV viewers, almost half (47 per cent) say that watching a program at its regular time is their first choice when deciding what to view in the evening. Gen Y shows the strongest preference for the technology but still chooses live viewing by almost two to one.

Many households have yet to embrace the connected TV technology; among 13- to 64-year-olds in ‘capable but unconnected’ TV homes, only one fifth (21 per cent) expect to connect in the next year. And, among the 40 percent of 13-to-64s who are in homes without a capable device, just eight percent expect to get such a device in the next year.

Buffering and poor picture quality are no longer barriers to satisfaction with connected TV. The data reveals that two thirds of connected TV viewers believe the picture and sound quality are about the same as, or better than, their regular TV reception. Viewers also like the flexibility to watch anytime and the wider selection of content.

“Connected TVs are now clearly a mainstream technology if defined by presence in the home ˆ but actual usage is a different story,” said David Tice, Vice President and Group Account Director at Knowledge Networks. “Finding ways to turn on‚ the installed-but-inactive population may be the key to growth in every area. One potential approach: Tap into the unmet needs of pay TV consumers, such as the ability to access web-like search tools and social media through their TV set.”

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