"How People Use Television" Study

With the proliferation of Cable channels and distribution, and the associated migration of viewing from Broadcast to Cable over the last couple of years, there were many questions in the marketplace about how viewers’ behaviors might have changed during this time.

To answer these, CAB, in conjunction with SRI/Knowledge Networks, conducted the "How People Use Television" study to better understand viewers relationship with television. The study explores how people’s attitudes, actions and usage of both the Broadcast and Cable networks have changed.

SRI/Knowledge Networks was chosen as CAB's partner, with the complete agreement of many agency researchers, based on SRI’s unparalled expertise in measuring this topic. Over the course of the last 15 years, SRI has conducted over 25,000 interviews on how people use TV, using their highest quality standards and methodological approach.

SRI’s reports have been used by numerous agency planners and researchers for their presentations to clients. This study was designed to be the next chapter in this learning with equal value to the marketplace. A number of agency media researchers took part in the development and approval of the questionnaire.

The study was implemented across both February sweep and March non-sweep period (2/23-3/24/04) of 2,000 national random digit dialing interviews of A18-64 by inquiring about their previous evening's viewing between 8p-1a.

Study Focus:

What people view?

  • How they make their choices about what to view – How do viewers navigate?
  • Where do viewers tune first?
  • What effect is time-shifting having on viewing?
  • What activities are they doing while viewing?
  • What are the perceived differences between Ad-supported Cable and Broadcast?
  • Is there a difference between Primetime and prime time?


Study Findings:

  • Half of all viewers seem to start viewing without a specific destination in mind…and people go to Cable first as much as they go to Broadcast first…One TV World.
  • Viewers are very attached to Cable networks and programming.
  • Ads on Cable are actually seen in a better light than ads on Broadcast.
  • Primetime for young men is starting at 10pm and is heavy midnight to 1am.
  • Viewers with PVRs are twice as likely to record Broadcast; and most of them skip ads.
  • And a lot more…


NOTE: New study findings will be posted here regularly – please check back for the latest updates.

How People Use TV (2.8 MB)
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