Do You Prefer VOD Or ITV?

Are you a cable or dish person? Apparently, the answer to this question says a lot about how you watch TV. According to a recently released report, cable and satellite operators will need to consider their customers' specific interests and usage behavior in order to thrive in the emerging interactive TV market.

The study, conducted by industry consultant TechTrends, is titled "Cable vs. Satellite Subscribers: An Examination of Interactive TV Demand and TV-Internet Usage" and has found that cable subscribers (65% of premium cable; 59% of basic cable) are more interested in TV-based Web-browsing and e-mail than in any other interactive TV applications. DBS subscribers, on the other hand, show the most interest in video-on-demand (VOD) services (67% of DirecTV subscribers; 65% of Dish Network subscribers).

Published this month, the report analyzes subscribers to cable and/or satellite TV services by their type of broadcast delivery (basic cable, premium cable, DBS, C-band satellite) and their DBS service provider (DirecTV and Dish Network). TechTrends says that the study also evaluates subscribers' degree of interest and price sensitivity for popular interactive TV services including: digital photo printing, Internet on TV, t-commerce shopping, time-shifting, personalized TV channels, video games, and video-on-demand.

TechTrends' Laurence J. Bloom says that "our research shows that cable and DBS subscribers have unique TV viewing and Internet usage habits that translate into different pricing and feature criteria for various interactive TV services. For instance, while DBS subscribers spend more time than cable subscribers watching TV, more premium cable subscribers access the Internet on their PCs and watch TV at the same time. The Internet and TV viewing behavior of these consumers likely correlates to cable subscribers' strong interest in Internet on TV services and DBS subscribers' strong interest in enhanced video programming services like VOD."

According to the study, DirecTV and Dish subscribers exhibit different degrees of interest in personal TV services. Specifically, the study reveals that DirecTV subscribers are more interested than Dish subscribers in time-shifting services, but less interested in personalized TV channels. Bloom adds, "In order for both cable and satellite operators to maximize their potential revenue per subscriber through interactive TV services, they must identify the most effective combination of features and pricing for different subscriber segments."