TV buying habits are approximating how consumers approach replacement of their smartphones.
That was one of the key takeaways from research conducted by SmithGeiger for watermarking specialist Verance and presented at the annual meeting of the Advanced Television Systems Committee a couple of weeks ago in Washington.
For someone who is closer to 60 than 50, that’s a hard concept to get my head around.
As a child, I remember at least eight years of TV watching on a black-and-white Zenith television and another eight to 10 on a color RCA console.
Today, 82% of people polled for the SmithGeiger study who had purchased a TV within the past year said they would upgrade to a new television set that offers greater control, convenience and personalization features made possible by ATSC 3.0.
It should be noted that Verance paid for this study and that its audio watermarking technology, which is a part of the next-gen TV standard, enables much of ATSC 3.0’s interactivity, which will make it possible for viewers to personalize their viewing experience.
But still, this willingness to buy again among those who just purchased a new TV seems remarkable to me.
I spoke last week on the phone with Seth Geiger, president of the research firm, about the research in general and this finding in particular.
“This was one of the big ah-hah moments we hadn’t anticipated,” he said during the conversation.
As the PowerPoint used to present the research findings to the ATSC audience put it: “The TV purchase cycle has shifted and is now aligned more with the mobile experience.”
Geiger observed during our phone interview that “historically you bought the next TV because you needed to fill out a bedroom or kitchen counter, and TVs had a much longer lifecycle.”
“What we are seeing now is with the advent of new feature sets and digital capabilities that the TV consumer is moving more towards a smartphone-like upgrade cycle, which is a boon to television set manufacturers,” he said.
What this all adds up to is many, many people are looking for a reason to upgrade their TVs — even if they have recently purchased a set. Just give them the right reason to do so.
As one who has been frustrated by what seems like the glacial pace of ATSC 3.0 development — a development cycle that from a standard’s point of view probably seems to be progressing at Warp 10 speed — there seems to have been no cause for my concern.
Consumers will embrace new 3.0 sets, regardless of their recent purchase decisions, as long as the next-gen sets deliver on the control, convenience and personalization features they say they want –at least that’s what the research says.
More information about the watermarking technology is available on the Verance website.