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MediaTel Staff 

Economist Researches Attitudes To TV

The Economist

magazine has published research this week into the state of television, both as a medium and as an industry. Among other things, it discovered that people are willing to pay for TV, but only if it is high quality, and that personal video recorder (PVR) technology such as TiVo will not necessarily spell the end for TV advertising.

The survey confirms that Europe is the leading test-bed of digital interactive television, but counters that most of what has been tried in this field so far has been disappointing. It goes on to say that PVR technology will "bring far greater changes to the way we watch television than most of the digital interactivity tried so far."

The fear surrounding PVRs is that they will do serious damage to both TV advertising and network television, as people will be able to call up programmes on demand and skip past adverts. However, the survey predicts that the spread of this technology will not mean the end of the mass experience of TV. People will call up programmes when they want them, but they will still gossip about them with their friends, making the experience more like visiting the cinema, when everyone may go to see the same film, but not at the same time.

For advertisers, the challenge will be to inject more imagination, says the survey. While the advertising on TV will not be killed by PVR, it will no longer be possible to rely on the 30-second slot. Instead, devices such as sponsorship or interactive promotions will become necessary to grab viewer attention.

Reflecting what is becoming clear to those in the industry, the survey found that people "will no more pay extra to watch second-tier sport than they will to watch second-rate movies." and claims "The days when the rights to sports and movies are bid sky high are over." However, it also found that consumers will pay more for TV, but only if the content on offer is desirable.

The Economist: 020 7830 7000 www.economist.com

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