Global TV Survey Reveals Viewers' Dislike of Ads

17 April 2008

NEW YORK: A worrying finding by a new worldwide survey of television consumption claims that commercials are the least popular aspect of 'live' TV among viewers.

Accenture's first Global Broadcast Consumer Survey reports that the disruption to programs caused by ad-breaks is consumers' pet hate (64%), followed by an inability to rewind shows (40%), while 38% complained they were unable to watch programs at their convenience.

The survey was conducted across eight countries to analyze how people in multiple global markets consume and respond to broadcast content, and how they are adapting to new content delivery methods.

Although TV remains the predominant mass communications device worldwide, with 97% of respondents watching TV in a typical week, consumption patterns vary based on a range of factors including geography, age and socio-economic status.

While some 70% of consumers watch four or more television programs a week, 71% watch on four or more channels. In other words, viewers are more loyal to their favorite shows than to channels.

The study also found that while 83% of the 7,000 respondents expressed discontent with watching live (broadcast or cable) TV, a third are still watching eight or more programs per week, including 41% of US and 39% of British consumers.

David Wolf, from Accenture's Media & Entertainment practice, believes the research suggests TV is rapidly shifting from its origins as a clearly-identifiable standalone medium.

He says: "People are experiencing new consumption opportunities and moving away from traditional, linear programming. 

"And age has become the leading indicator of these new behavioral preferences with consumers under 35-years 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.”

The survey reports that 46% of the 18-24 age group in the US view content via mobile devices; but there is considerably less interest among those aged 55 and older (19%). 

And more than one in three adults are willing to pay 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 ads within the downloaded programs.

The survey also notes different TV consumption behaviors within different countries and regions, with a large number of programs watched on alternative devices in a typical week.

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

Data sourced from (UK); additional content by WARC staff