April 14, 2008
Accenture Survey Finds Network Television Schedules on Life Support While Audiences Remain Loyal to Favorite Programs

Findings also indicate that new viewing patterns can open new revenue streams for industry

NEW YORK; April 14, 2008 – Consumers are growing increasingly disenchanted with their overall television experience but are nonetheless remaining remarkably loyal to their favorite programs, according to results from Accenture’s inaugural Global Broadcast Consumer Survey. Accenture conducted the survey to analyze how people in multiple global markets consume and respond to broadcast content, and how they are adapting to the new content delivery methods.

The survey found that although television remains the predominant mass communications device worldwide, with 97 percent of respondents watching TV in a typical week, consumption patterns vary based on a number of factors including geography, age and socio-economic status. While some 70 percent of consumers watch four or more television programs a week, 71 percent of them watch programs on four or more television channels.

This channel-hopping demonstrates that consumers are more loyal to the content they want to watch rather than the branded distribution channel to which they may be accustomed. This affords an opportunity for content creators, studios and networks to begin delivering content to consumers on multiple channels and through multiple devices creating new ways to interact with consumers and entirely new revenue streams.

The survey also found that while 83 percent of the respondents expressed discontent with watching “live” (e.g., broadcast or cable) TV, a third (33 percent) are still watching eight or more programs per week, including 41 percent of American and 39 percent of British consumers. This change in behavior poses a significant threat to television networks unless they understand how to deliver content directly to consumers through new digital channels, the survey found.

David Wolf, a senior executive with Accenture’s Media & Entertainment practice, believes the research suggests that television is rapidly shifting from its origins as a clearly-identifiable stand-alone medium.

“People are experiencing new consumption opportunities and moving away from traditional, linear programming,” said Wolf. “And age has become the leading indicator of these new behavioral preferences with consumers under 35-years-old clearly the best indicator of these impending changes and future broadcast consumption patterns. Today’s youth are more dissatisfied with the traditional television experience and increasingly excited by the availability of new choices.”

Wolf pointed to other noteworthy trend found in the survey.

In the United States, 46 percent of 18-24-year-olds view content via mobile devices; but there is considerably less interest among those 55 and older (19 percent). This dramatic behavioral shift represents the beginnings of a wave of change that will ultimately transform the content production and distribution marketplace worldwide.

“The under 35-year-old group is more likely to watch content on alternative devices, more likely to be familiar with On Demand TV, prefers watching content on demand and is more willing to pay to download content,” Wolf observed.

According to the survey, consumers have already developed some ideas about what type of content fits best on which alterative device. One in four (27 percent) would enjoy watching full TV episodes on their PCs, while the same number (27 percent) would like to receive public service info; 26 percent to watch new content not normally on TV; and 25 percent content they themselves create.  Fewer would like to receive program highlights (16 percent) or shortened versions of TV episodes.

User-generated content ranks highly on mobile, reflecting the expanding photo and video capabilities of mobile handsets and the potential for easy sharing either face-to-face or via messaging,” said Wolf.

Furthermore, the survey found that more than one in three adults (37 percent) are willing to pay on some basis to download TV shows from a digital service, with half preferring a monthly fee for unlimited downloading and slightly fewer preferring to pay for a season of a particular show.  Thirty-three percent prefer to pay nothing in return for watching advertisements within the downloaded programs.

The survey findings underscored the fact that consumers throughout the world today have more power and control than ever before in terms of what to watch, when to watch it, and on what device. In today’s digital environment the definition of what constitutes “TV” and its intended purpose is getting increasingly blurred, as ambitious new entrants, channels and new interactive capabilities flood in from all sides.

The survey demonstrated that different countries and regions have different consumer consumption behaviors. The overarching trends – and strategies to satisfy consumer demand -- may be global, but local execution requires local knowledge and awareness of the rapid changes in consumer tastes, expectations and aspirations.

“What these geographic findings all underline is that a one-size-fits all approach to digital services will not work. Industry participants need to ‘think global and act local.’ It is no coincidence that major content producers are currently making a series of acquisitions in emerging markets, seeking access to innovation, talent and content that they can both utilize locally and recycle to developed and emerging markets worldwide,” said Wolf.

Among the survey’s other key findings:

There is a large number of programs watched on alternative devices in a typical week.
One in three adults in the eight countries access programs via an alternative device in a typical week, with Italy (41percent), France (36 percent) and Spain the highest (35 percent), while Brazil is the lowest (17 percent). Six out of 10 adults said they would enjoy watching some content via their PCs.

Consumers are beginning to discern the genres they prefer to watch “Live” or “On Demand.”  Nearly one-half (46 percent) of consumer prefer to watch sports and news “live”. Twenty-three percent of consumers prefer to watch dramas and situation comedies “on demand.”

TV commercials are what respondents disliked most about ‘live’ TV. Commercials are by far the top complaint (64 percent), followed by not being able to ‘rewind’ (40 percent) and not being able to watch programs at the viewer’s convenience (38 percent).  Much less troublesome are unappealing content (14 percent), and being unable to watch programs away from home (8 percent), to interact (7 percent) or to rate programs (7 percent).

More information on Accenture’s Global Broadcast Consumer Survey can be found at www.accenture.com/broadcaststudy.


This report presents the findings of online surveys undertaken, using a common questionnaire, in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The online research was conducted using national omnibus service among demographically representative samples of approximately 1,000 adults in the six countries previously mentioned. Interviews were also conducted in Brazil and Mexico by telephone because omnibus services are not available.  A total of 500 interviews were conducted in each of these countries in major cities in order to attempt to obtain a representative sample of each country. The age of adults reached by an online omnibus differs by country in Europe, where adults 16-54 were interviewed in Italy and Spain and adults 16-64 were interviewed in France, Germany and the U.K.  In the U.S., a national online omnibus reaches adults 18 and older. In Brazil and Mexico, the telephone survey was conducted among adults 18-64.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.  With 178,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$19.70 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2007.  Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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Gary Morgenstern

Josh Wozman
Media Relations for Accenture
415 318 6441