IPTV A Threat To Cable

    February 20, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

A poll conducted by Harris Interactive shows that most consumers would be willing to give up their cable or satellite TV subscriptions if an acceptable IPTV alternative were offered. Also, while a switch to IPTV may prove challenging for networks and cable companies, it offers a better TV experience for the consumer.

Though few said they would cancel their cable and satellite services immediately without a trial run or waiting to see how early adopters liked it, 93 percent said they’d have one or the other, but not both. Just over half (56%) of US adults say they have heard of IPTV and substantial numbers indicated an interest in giving it a try.

The attractiveness of IPTV rests not only in usability and interactive capabilities, but also the ability to select when programs can be viewed and the wide ranges of choices the Internet could offer. Less than 4 percent, however, expressed an interest in TV on cell phones.

The interactive features that garnered the most interest include:

The ability to save money, since IPTV should be far less costly than cable or satellite (42%)
The ability to select the time you watch a program (on demand) (33%)
The ability to receive a broader array of programming content to meet your particular interests (24%)
High-definition viewing (20%)
Digital video recording (18%)
Interactive program guide with navigation and search functions (15%)

Twelve percent of adults say they would sign up and try IPTV immediately if it were only available for their PC, and 57 percent say they would wait and see how others like it. Almost one in five (18%) say they would try IPTV immediately if it were available for their PC and could be sent to TV’s in their house using a set-top box, and 59 percent said they would wait and see how others like it.

“It’s no surprise to find that consumers want to save money on their cable or satellite bill, but the survey results also show that many consumers are quite interested in having access to a broad range of content to watch, at a time they determine,” said Milt Ellis, vice president and senior consultant for the Technology Research Practice at Harris Interactive.

“When consumers are able to watch their favorite shows at a time of their own choosing, prime time’ may need redefining, network program schedules may have little meaning, and TV ad rates will have to be recalculated. If and when IPTV becomes a mainstream reality, it could be the best of times for consumers and IPTV providers and challenging times for the networks, as well as cable and satellite providers.”