New York — In Demand pitched media buyers here with a hard sell for its high-definition networks INHD and INHD2, taking shots at competing HDTV services and wooing an influential crowd with discounts on new TVs.
“We offer more programming in native high-definition than anyone in TV,” In Demand president Rob Jacobson told a an audience of about 100 media buyers at an upfront-style presentation In Demand held at a theater in lower Manhattan last Thursday.
Asked for a show of hands, only about 20% of the media buyers in attendance said they owned an HDTV.
But In Demand reps made an aggressive move to put HDTVs in the home of the advertising community, as they doled out certificates at the end of the presentation for $200 off a new HDTV.
In Demand said it would also pick up the tab for one year of a cable HDTV package for the media buyers in attendance.
In Demand touted research it conducted in September, which found that 89% of HDTV owners said that INHD was the best HDTV cable network in terms of picture quality. TNT HD finished at the bottom of the heap, scoring 47%.
In the middle were Discovery HD (85%); HDNet (78%); BravoHD+, now called Universal HD (68%); HBO HD (64%); ESPN HD (61%) and Showtime HD (55%).
In Demand executives said that the company would look to cut exclusive deals by February with media buyers in eight different advertising categories: domestic auto, import auto, consumer packaged goods, financial, fast food, retail, entertainment and travel.
The MSO-backed distributor also recruited analyst Jack Myers to prophesize about HDTV. The “HDTV tipping point is now,” Myers told the audience, and he criticized programmers that aren’t investing in offering viewers native HDTV, insisting that viewers can spot true HD programming.
Myers also suggested that HDTV will be a key driver of digital set-tops for cable operators, as he noted that cable operators “have had more trouble than they’d like to admit getting the digital set-top into homes.”
In Demand also presented its own research, in addition to HDTV studies from The Yankee Group and Frank N. Magid Associates. Among the findings:
- The number of HDTVs in U.S. homes will grow from 8.3 million in 2004 to 16.2 million in 2005, 27.5 million in 2006, 42.2 million in 2007 and 57.5 million in 2008, when half of all U.S. homes will be HD-capable.
- While channel surfing, 52% of HDTV owners check HD channels first, and 29% check out their favorite channels first, regardless of whether they offer high-definition programming.
- Movies are the most popular HD programming genre, according to 66% of HDTV owners, followed by play-by-play sports and concerts (both at 53%), dramas or action shows (38%) and documentaries (29%).
- The average cable household has 2.7 TVs, while HDTV owners have an average 3.5 TVs, and 15% of HDTV owners have two HDTVs.
- About 60% of HDTV owners are men. Most HDTV owners are between the ages of 35 to 54, while more than one-third of them are older than 55. But In Demand said HDTV buyers will skew younger in the future, pointing to research from Magid.