Study: Digital Hikes Penetration, Satisfaction


Horowitz Associates Inc. announced Tuesday that its latest consumer research
indicated that digital cable is boosting penetration and customer-satisfaction

Horowitz's latest "State of Digital & Interactive Television II" study --
based on telephone interviews with 800 cable or satellite customers in markets
where digital cable has been launched -- found that 33% of respondents have
digital-cable service now, up from 25% last year, and that 19% have satellite,
up from 15% a year ago.

In all, the research firm said, one-half of multichannel households now have
digital service, either from a cable or a satellite provider.

Those cable subscribers who have chosen to upgrade to digital service gave it
high satisfaction ratings "equivalent to the high ratings given by satellite
customers to their respective platform," Horowitz noted, adding that nearly 77%
of digital-cable and satellite customers rated their reception and picture
quality 4 or 5 on a 5-point poor-to-excellent scale.

In addition, 67% of digital-cable and satellite households gave similarly
high ratings to their overall service, Horowitz reported, while 54% of
digital-cable and 61% of satellite subscribers said the same about their remotes
and set-top boxes and 51% of both subscriber sectors gave high ratings to their
packaging and cable carriage.

In rating specific features, 75% of digital-cable subscribers praised their
interactive on-screen program guides (versus 65% of satellite homes) and 66%
praised new digital channels from the major cable companies (vs. 57% among
satellite households), Horowitz said.

Turning to the newest features, Horowitz said 43% of analog-cable customers
are aware of video-on-demand and 34% of HDTV.

President Howard Horowitz in a written statement also cited the importance of
bundling to future cable growth.

"Well-conceived bundling, pricing and programming options that truly meet the
customers' needs and that are supported by strong marketing efforts and
excellent service will reinforce the value of cable in the consumers' minds," he