Study: TV Guide Viewers Order More PPV Titles


Digital-cable subscribers with access to TV Guide Channel tend to order many more pay-per-view titles than subscribers who don't get the channel, according to a study.

TV Guide Channel said the study — the results of which Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. planned to release today (Dec. 10) — found that digital-cable subscribers with access to the channel make 40 percent more PPV buys than subscribers without the 57-million-subscriber analog channel.

Original programming designed to market PPV titles for operators — such as What's On, Quick Flicks, The Screening Room
and Music News
— helped to boost PPV buys, officials said.

The research, conducted by InfoQuest and commissioned by TV Guide Channel, was based on an analysis of PPV buys made by 3.3 million subscribers on 230 cable systems from January through August.

During the recent Destiny's Child Survivor
PPV concert, 2.1 million TV Guide Channel subscribers involved in the analysis generated 2,096 PPV buys, for a 0.10 buy-rate. That was twice the 0.05 buy-rate for non-TV Guide Channel households, in which 1.2 million nonsubscribers generated 669 buys.

"That [concert] is a situation where we not only ran promotions, but we did soft sell it in our programming," TV Guide Channel president and chief operating officer Pam McKissick said. "We make them [cable operators] money with everything we do."

Lars Lofas, vice president of marketing for AT&T Broadband's Oregon cluster, attributed the increased buy rates from TV Guide Channel subscribers to several factors, including the IPG, the convenience of impulse PPV ordering and TV Guide Channel.

The study revealed some other interesting findings. While digital-cable subscribers have access to Gemstar's interactive program guide, which allows them to manually surf through pages of TV listings, 35 percent of digital-cable subscribers continue to use TV Guide Channel — the scrolling, passive guide.

Considering that channel capacity is a problem for AT&T and other MSOs, why would the Oregon system keep TV Guide Channel after deploying the TV Guide Interactive IPG?

"We are a believer, that for those that don't have digital, it's a useful tool," Lofas responded.

AT&T has penetrated 20 to 30 percent of the 540,000 basic subscribers in the Oregon market with digital cable, Lofas said. Dropping TV Guide Channel "might be something you look at when you're further along" in terms of digital penetration, Lofas added.