RealTime IT News

Consumers "Keenly Interested" in I-TV

An industry-sponsored survey released Tuesday claims that consumers are "keenly interested" in interactive television (i-TV) and are willing to spend money to get it.

Significantly for application and content vendors, the study found that news was the most popular application, and using i-TV to augment the television experience also ranked highly.

The most popular i-TV application, preferred by slightly more than more than half the participants, was gathering information such as news, weather and sports. About 44 percent preferred interactive TV guides and 38 percent liked i-TV for behind-the-scenes information on TV programs. About 37 percent wanted to use i-TV for e-mail.

Study participants were exposed to interactive TV in three ways. First, they were exposed to a "two-screen scenario," in which synchronized Internet content for a TV program was delivered to a near-by PC. They also were exposed to an "on-screen" scenario, in which information was added to the regular TV picture. Finally, participants could use a handheld to download content to handheld computers.

The handheld access proved popular, with about 64 percent of the participants who currently have analog cable service saying they would consider upgrading. About 47 percent of cable customers said that they would switch to digital service that provided single-screen interactive TV capabilities.

"The study's findings tell us that consumers are keenly interested in getting interactive TV services," said David Beddow, CEO of Liberty Livewire and spokesperson for the research sponsors. "Even with the nascent state of the technology and content, cable and satellite operators have a captivated, if not captive, audience eager to use interactive services now."

Besides Beddow's company, the study was sponsored by i-TV technology vendors ACTV, Motorola, OpenTV and Universal Electronics. The vendors develop technology for all three scenarios covered in the study.

The study was conducted by Boyd Consulting and involved more than 500 consumers. The study was conducted in November and December of 2000.