Technology

A study to understand the low offtake of Set-Top-Boxes in Chennai

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TV Pulse 2005, the annual research initiative put together by the Joint Industry Body (JIB) and Tam Media, series continues with the paper - A study to understand the low offtake of Set-Top-Boxes in Chennai. The paper has been put together by IMRB-PQR and TAM Media Research.

Chennai became the first city to implement the Conditional Access System (CAS) in September, 2003. However, the phenomenon has still not caught on in the city with the penetration of the Set Top Boxes (STB) still reeling at 2-3 per cent mark.

Being a market in which over 70 per cent of viewership is accounted for by free to air (FTA) channels. Chennai was also a market that had the least potential of getting affected. TAM Media Research had come out with its views on how the CAS phenomenon would affect TV viewing behaviour in the city just before CAS came into effect.

Similarly, post the implementation of CAS, there was a need to understand the ef fect of CAS on TV viewing behaviour and reasons for the low penetration of STBs in the Chennai market.

Research Objectives

Understanding the reasons for the low offtake of STBs in Chennai and exploring the reasons for the same

Understanding the viewing experience of households that purchased STB

Research Methodology

Qualitative: A study done by Probe Qualitative Research (PQR), IMRB using Focus Group Discussions

Findings

The entire purchase process was studied through the qualitative study done by IMRB PQR to understand the elements that went behind the investment and the postpurchase reactions.

STB Purchase process

First Reactions Consideration Trigger Purchase Post Purchase

First Reactions

The general reaction on display from all the family members was that of restriction as a result of channel choices getting limited to only the FTA channels.

"I felt really bad. Most of my channels were gone".

The pinch of an extra investment and further monthly outgo for subscription for favourite channels was felt most by the decision makers in the family.

"We have to pay 500 and the channels can even increase their cost. It is costly."

"We have been made the guinea pigs for the CAS experiment. We have to shell out the hefty sum"

Consideration

The promoters of the decision to buy the STB were youngsters while the fathers were procrastinating the purchase consideration as they wanted to adopt a wait & watch policy The question lingering in the minds of the CWE (Chief Wage Earner) was "What if CAS is rolled back"? The mothers in the families were largely indifferent as most of the popular Tamil general entertainment channels were FTA. However, the disappointment of not having access to certain pay channels among youngsters & the elder males was elicited clearly though the following statements:

"We lost complete interest in watching TV" (Youngsters)

"Serials are there in other channels also... so wives did not miss much ... But for us, all was gone" (Men)

Trigger

The most obvious trigger was to restore the original TV viewing dynamics and the youngster exerted pressure on their parents to buy the STB

"Children were creating too much of fuss" "Children kept asking for NGC"

Purchase

The purchase decision was left largely to the CWE/father in the family The CWE in most cases believed that the best source for buying the STB was the cable operator himself.

"He knows the best ... he has been in this line for so many years now"

The decision makers were not aware about any of the brands of STB existing in the marketplace.

"In this these are no brands"

However, there was a clear recollection of various channel packages offered from most of the decision makers.

"You have to decide which package will be suitable ... there is platinum, gold, silver , different areas have different packages"

The main concerns raised while evaluating the purchase were related to the quality and ease of service

"We were worried that what if it does not give us the channels?"

"What if the picture quality is bad?"

"Will it be complicated to operate" (Women)

Post purchase

A sense of relief was observed amongst households that bought the STIB and the respondents, especially the males also mentioned about the enhancement in viewing experience in terms of picture qual ity and transmission.

"What was taken away is now back. We are able to see what we like".

"The picture quality is better No grains ... natural finish".

The women who were largely apprehensive about the process of operating the new remote for the STB were also found quick to adjust to the new mechanism.

"Children have taught us, and it easy now.

The key post purchase reaction:

Contrary to Popular belief, there was a clear lack of peer pressure. This came across from various FGDs (Focused Group Discussions) as consumers felt that they were being made the guinea pigs for the experiment and the stance of the government on the CAS policy may rolled back anytime, making their investment futile. Therefore, the reaction was one of getting ridiculed by the peers and this acted as a deterrent to the STB of f take in the city.

 

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