Digital media connectivity fuels TV viewing in the US: Study

MUMBAI: CBS Research has revealed surprising new data showing that as the American public at large becomes more connected to digital media, the more engaged they become in primetime television programming.

Additionally, as more TV viewers become aware of the 2009 deadline for broadcasters to switch to full digital transmissions, the likelihood of them investing in new digital TV sets increases by 40 per cent.

Those are just two of the major findings revealed by a study CBS Research has conducted examining consumers' attitudes towards digital media, and the role television will play in the near future.

US broadcaster CBS chief research officer David F. Poltrack says, "This data clearly show a correlation between connectivity and primetime television viewing. Consumers who embrace the new media are the heaviest viewers of the top network primetime programs, and this sector of the audience is growing. By offering them new ways to connect to their favorite shows -- whether it's websites, podcasts, ringtones or other mobile features -- we've been able to deepen the bond these fully connected viewers have with our programming.

"The research also illustrates that as viewers learn about the 2009 deadline for digital transmissions their attitudes towards investing in technology, like advanced home entertainment centers, to watch their favorite shows, changes radically. These findings really demonstrate the potential the broadcast networks have to further engage the public with our content as new technology expands our distribution options."

The population is gradually moving up to higher levels of connectivity, This "fully connected" segment of the population, the segment with both a broadband and a digital television connection at home, has grown from 22 per cent in the fall of 2005 to over 30 per cent this fall. The 'fully connected' segment of the population is the segment that is most likely to watch the top broadcast network programs.

In addition, this segment visits network television web sites and is increasingly likely to stream clips and full episodes of network television programs on the Internet. Members of this upscale, better-educated 'fully connected' segment are today the most engaged with the popular network programs.

Although less than 30 per cent of the population is aware of the 2009 deadline for broadcasters to switch to full digital transmissions, approximately one-half of these people have already purchased a digital set and another 30% plan to before the changeover. Of those who are not aware, when told of the change, 40 per cent stated that they would upgrade to a digital set before 2009.

It is clear that, as people become aware of the upcoming digital changeover in 2009, the likelihood of them upgrading their home entertainment equipment increases. This is very encouraging since previous research has shown that people watch more television after obtaining a High Definition television set.

Just over one-half (56 per cent) of those surveyed were aware that you could watch network television programmes by streaming them over the Internet. Of those aware of this streaming option, 46 per cent have already streamed at least one programme. Of those not aware of this streaming option, whentold which programs were available for streaming, 62 per cent selected at leastone of the 33 available programmes that they probably would watch via streaming over the in the future.

It is clear that the potential for network programme distribution over the Internet is just beginning to be tapped.

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