Advanced Television

Research: Five distinct viewing preference segments

December 6, 2011

While consumers have long ranked live TV programming as their top television content source, the arrival of new platforms and services including digital video recorders (DVRs), pay-TV on-demand services, and online video has complicated the selection process. According to TDG’s new report, Viewing Preferences in the Age of Multi-Source Television, a growing number of TV viewers fall into segments inclined to first tune their TV to a source other than live broadcast TV.

To better understand this shifting behaviour, TDG developed a quantitative framework based on consumer ‘First Glance’ TV preferences among different television content sources, including live broadcast, DVR-recorded, on-demand, and online shows, as well as physical discs such as DVD or Blu-ray. Based on this analysis, TDG identified five key segments; non-overlapping groups that exhibit unique TV source preferences. The graphic below identifies the relative size of each segment among the adult broadband population.

The dominant characteristics of each segment are:

  • Black-Box Baulkers – strongly prefer live broadcast and on-demand content, but shy away from adding new ‘black boxes’ to the TV system, especially devices they have to connect and configure. If a service is fully integrated into their one-device, on-remote experience (e.g., pay-TV on-demand) they will bite. If not, forget about it.
  • TV Traditionalists – prefer live broadcast programmes and physical discs, but are much less likely than average viewers to subscribe to or use pay-TV on-demand or other value-added services, much less to view DVR-recorded or online TV content. They want ‘regular’ TV and little more.
  • DVR Devotees – all members of this segment own a DVR and exhibit a uniquely strong initial preference for DVR-recorded content. Despite this penchant for recorded material, however, this segment has very little interest in on-demand content, regardless of source. Interestingly, they are more likely than other segments to subscribe to satellite pay-TV versus cable.
  • Broadcast Cast-offs – prefer DVR-recorded and Internet video for ‘First Glance’ TV viewing and have very little interest in live broadcast content. In fact, only 72 per cent of this segment has access to live TV broadcasts on their TV. Similarly, they have absolutely no interest in pay-TV on-demand services, be it free or transactional.
  • New Video Enthusiasts – the ‘Early Adopters’ group in this segmentation, they prefer Internet video, pay-TV on-demand, and DVR-recorded material, and are less likely to turn to live TV or physical discs (more traditional TV content sources).


Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research