NOP’s exclusive research shows that in the UK more than nine out of ten people aged over 15 years have a video player at home, making access to recording and play-back technology almost as widespread as terrestrial television.
By comparison, cable, satellite and digital TV still only reach a minority of the population. A quarter of adults have satellite TV at home, considerably more than the 17 per cent with cable.
This relatively low penetration highlights the rapid progress of the newest service, digital TV – which is accessed by a fifth of all adults.
The demographic bias of satellite and cable TV penetration, which was so noticeable in the early days, is beginning to even out. Satellite access is now more equally distributed between upmarket and downmarket subscribers, and shows only a slight shortfall among the over-55s and in the northern third of Britain.
Cable has a less even profile, reaching a fifth of 15- to 54-year-olds but only 12 per cent of older people. Reflecting geographical availability, only 14 per cent of Northerners are connected, compared with 20 per cent of Southerners and 19 per cent of Midlanders.
Digital reached 23 per cent of 15- to 54-year-olds, with virtually even uptake across these three regions.
All three services have a stronger appeal to households with children under 15. The importance of children is a theme which is repeated throughout all the aspects of video covered in this survey, and children may hold the key to market development.
Pre-recorded and home-recorded
The most popular use for videos is recording and playing back TV programmes. Eighty-three per cent of people with a video player recorded at least one programme in January. By comparison, six out of ten had bought a pre-recorded video in a three-month period from November to January, while four in ten had rented a video to watch at home.
Two-thirds of purchasers had bought between one and five video tapes in the past three months; a third bought six or more.
Video purchases do not seem to be influenced by class or region, rather by age and, more importantly, the presence of under-15s in the household. Two-thirds of people with children bought at least one pre-recorded video from November to January, compared with half of those without children. People with children accounted for 41 per cent of purchasers of more than six videos, although only a third of households nationally.
Six out of ten video renters hired fewer than five videos in the same three-month period. Overall, renting is most popular among young people. Two-thirds of 15- to 34-year-olds hired at least one video, compared with four out of ten 35- to 54-year-olds and 17 per cent of over-55s. Young people account for 70 per cent of those hiring six or more videos in the period. As with video purchases, children have an influence on rental: 55 per cent of people with children hired a video in the three months in question, compared with 37 per cent of those without.
Three-quarters of owners recorded fiction programmes, compared with seven out of ten who recorded non-fiction.
Cinema feature films had the biggest audience, with 57 per cent of owners recording one. Forty-six per cent recorded a documentary, 38 per cent an episode in a fiction series, and 35 per cent a soap opera. Sport was the only other category to be recorded by more than three out of ten people.
A quarter of people recorded feature films more often than any other type of programme; 22 per cent a soap episode. Documentaries, sport and fiction series were the only other types of programmes recorded most often by more than ten per cent of the sample.
Attitudes to DVD
NOP asked the sample of 1,000 adults about their awareness of, and attitude towards, DVD. (According to manufacturers’ estimates, at the time of the survey DVD player ownership stood at less than one per cent.) Seventeen per cent were “very interested and considering buying” a DVD player; another 28 per cent were “quite interested”. Thirty-six per cent defined themselves as “vaguely aware but not well-informed”, while 19 per cent were “not really aware and not interested”.
Men were much more interested than women, accounting for two thirds of the “very” and 54 per cent of “quite” interested categories.
Interest in DVD seems to be concentrated in the under-35s, which make up 70 per cent of those considering buying a DVD player. There was higher awareness, and interest, in the South than the rest of Britain.
Families with children under 15 have a higher level of interest in DVD, mirroring their greater involvement in pre-recorded video purchase and rental. People with children are twice as likely to be “very interested” in DVD as those without. A third are “quite interested”, compared with a quarter of people without children.
People who have invested in non-terrestrial TV are the best potential target for DVD. Twenty-two per cent of satellite subscribers described themselves as “very interested”, rising to 24 per cent of cable subscribers and a third of those with digital. Nearly two-thirds of the cable/satellite/digital cluster exhibit some interest in DVD – far more than the 47 per cent who simply have a video recorder.
Unsurprisingly in a young and family-oriented target group, price is a major barrier to purchase. Nearly seven out of ten people agreed they “would be more interested when DVD was cheaper”. With NOP’s research revealing such high levels of home video ownership, it is not surprising two-thirds of adults would be “more interested when you can record as well as play”.
A lack of understanding of the technology perhaps lies behind the low interest in a complete package of digital TV and DVD (since DVD can only record from digital TV). The 46 per cent who are interested in hiring DVD discs reflects consumers’ preference for buying rather than renting pre-recorded videos.
Contact: Elaine Hunt
Telephone: 01993 831202
The NOP Research Group interviewed a sample of1,000 over-15s about their video habits from November to January 1999, using its Weekend Telephone Omnibus
CONTACT: Jean Black on 0207-890 9117
– 93 per cent of over-15s have a video player at home
– 83 per cent of owners recorded at least one TV show in January
– More people buy pre-recorded videos than hire them
– Video rental and purchase are higher in families with children
– 17 per cent of adults are considering buying a DVD player
<b>Types of TV programmes recorded in the past month (% of adults with VCR at home)</b> Any Most often Any fiction 77 59 Cinema feature film 57 27 Soap opera 35 22 Episode of a fiction series 38 12 Made-for-TV film 23 3 Other fiction 29 3 Any non-fiction 69 34 Documentary 46 15 Other type of non-fiction 29 3 Quiz or competition 11 2 Cartoon 10 2 Children’s programme 17 4 None 17 –
Types of TV programmes recorded in the past month (% of adults with VCR at home)
<b>Pre-recorded videos (November to January) (% of adults)</b> Bought Rented One to five 38 27 Six or more 19 16 None 43 57
Pre-recorded videos (November to January) (% of adults)
<b>Equipment at home % </b> Video player 93 Satellite TV 25 Cable TV 17 Digital TV 19
Equipment at home %
<b>attitudes towards DVD %</b> Very interested and considering buying 17 Quite interested 28 Vaguely aware but not well-informed 36 Not really aware and not interested 19
attitudes towards DVD %
<b>Statement % of all adults</b> agree disagree don’t know I will be more interested when DVD players are cheaper 68 19 13 I will be more interested when you can record as well as play 65 17 18 I would like to buy a complete package of digital TV and DVD 27 58 15 I would like to be able to hire DVD discs rather than buy them 46 37 17
Statement % of all adults