Cell-ing to Big TV Owners

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Planning on rolling out a quadruple play bundle by adding cellphone service in the next year?

Then plan on aiming at families with children from higher income brackets who own a big-screen TV.

According to a telephone survey conducted on behalf of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, subscribers who fit in that demographic are the most interested in buying cellphone services from their cable provider.

And don’t stress providing video programming to those phones, according to the survey conducted in March by International Communications Research of Media, Pa.

<p>Quad-Service Candidates</p><p>Here are the top seven categories of prospective customers interested in cable’s quadruple play: </p>

Cable-modem customers

39%

People likely to switch cell providers within 6 months

37%

Digital-cable customers

36%

Cellphone users

29%

Premium cable customers

28%

Overall cable customers

27%

Satellite TV customers

22%

Most of those polled for this CTAM Pulse survey said they’re not really interested in watching programming on their handsets. They’re more interested in the ability to call between their mobile and home phones, without incurring extra charges, or forwarding their cell calls to their home landline than watching a sitcom on their phone.

The results are from a sample of 1,009 randomly selected adults contacted via telephone between March 21 and 29. Of those participating, 57% are currently cable customers. Of that percentage, 31% buy premium cable services and 28% are digital customers.

Twenty-five percent of all survey respondents buy their pay TV from direct-broadcast satellite providers.

Cable operators moving into the cellular delivery business will have quite a hurdle to clear. Ninety percent of respondents said they are disinclined to switch mobile-phone providers in the next six months, the survey indicated. This statistic is attributable to satisfaction with current service and the proliferation of long-term contracts with providers, the survey said.

One-third of the 10% who expressed dissatisfaction with their current carrier said they would be interested in buying cellular service from their cable provider, if consumers were offered incentives such as discounted pricing for bundled services.

More consumers responded they’d be interested in a multi-product package from a cable provider (24%) than would be interested in a cellphone-only purchase from an operator (18%).

The survey also indicated a strong propensity for consumers to accept some level of bundled services. Of the respondents, 69% said they’d be interested in a quad play. Only 22% of the satellite customers surveyed indicated they’d be willing to jump ship and subscribe to four services from a cable operator.

The advanced calling features most desired by potential cell phone customers include the ability to e-mail from their phones (29%), instant messaging (23%), surfing the Web or downloading music (18% for each feature).

Only 5% of total households and 6% of respondents who are already cell-phone users are interested in mobile TV. If they do download TV programming, they would be most interested in news, weather and information, cartoons and sitcoms. They’re only willing to watch that content for 20 minutes at a time, according to the survey.

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