TV Viewers Like Program Guides & DVRs

Have you been turned on to a new show by your cable service’s onscreen programming guide? Been able to watch episodes (in order!) whenever you want thanks to the magic of your TiVo or other personal video recorder? If so, you’re not alone. A study of over 1,200 adults subscribed to cable and/or satellite television services conducted for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing found that interactive programming guides (IPGs) and digital video recorders (DVRs) make television more enjoyable for viewers by making it easier to find and manage their TV programming.

The study, conducted during October 2004, generally found than 38 percent of respondents say they’re enjoying their television experience much than five years ago, compared to 17 percent who say they’re enjoying it much less. New technology seems to make a difference: DVR owners report enjoying TV more than non-DVR owners (although the supporting numbers are at the fringes of the study’s margins for error), but 49 percent of viewers with IPGs say the guides help them find something to watch, while fully one-third agree the guides make television more enjoyable by helping then plan and expand their viewing.

In addition, digital cable continues to gain ground versus analog cable service with 32 percent of households with television now having digital cable service, up from 26 percent in 2003. Households with analog cable service declined from 56 to 49 percent over the same period.

Digital cable and broadband also go hand-in-hand: over half the digital cable customers surveyed subscribe to broadband Internet service, compared to 26 percent of analog cable subscribers and 27 percent of satellite subscribers. Women accounted for 46 percent of the respondents with high-speed Internet service, up from 38 percent in 2003.

The study also found that television viewing habits are changing, with more than one third of satellite and cable subscribers saying they rely on television much more to keep them informed or to get new ideas. Further, late-night television programming is just as likely to be planned viewing as primetime, with 81 percent of late-night viewers knowing what channel and time they plan to watch compared to 79 percent of primetime viewers. Late-night viewers are also far less likely to be engaged in other activities while watching television, when compared to primetime or weekend daytime viewers.