Multichannel television makes TV viewers less likely to pay
attention to individual programmes and less loyal to specific channels
according to a new report from CIA Medianetwork’s MediaLab.
The study, TV 2001, found that with multichannel familiarity comes a
degree of contempt for TV. Viewers with multichannel TV show less
loyalty to programmes and channels, have lower quality demands of the TV
they do watch, display a lower attention span and a greater willingness
to change channels at the slightest prompting.
With 40 or more channels available to them, viewers tend to watch on
average just 17, with few changes across demographics. David Fletcher,
the head of MediaLab, said: ’While the actual portfolio of channels
varies by demograph, it suggests that for any one advertiser, the use of
an extended list of channels contributes little beyond what the
terrestrial and major cable and satellite channels can offer.’
At the same time, viewers in multichannel homes watch less of individual
programmes than viewers in terrestrial homes. According to the findings,
86 per cent of viewers of the average programme on ITV in terrestrial
households will watch at least three quarters of the programme, whereas
loyalty to these same programmes in multichannel homes is about 5 per
Multichannel viewers think terrestrial TV, particularly the BBC, offers
quality and value and is trustworthy, but satellite channels are seen as
offering fun and excitement. ’In multichannel homes a frivolous and
informal relationship exists between the viewer and the channel or
programme,’ Fletcher explained.