Survey: TV schedules 'a thing of the past'

On-demand TV services will get increasingly popular, a Tiscali survey says

British TV viewers will shun traditional scheduled broadcasts in favour of on-demand TV over their broadband connection, a Tiscali survey has found.

Aiming to find out what Britons think of IPTV ahead of relaunching its TV on demand service Homechoice , Tiscali found that 63 per cent of UK adults would prefer to watch on-demand programmes on their TV sets, using their broadband connection.

Despite many respondents not knowing what the term 'IPTV' meant, almost one in five (17 per cent) had already downloaded on-demand content to their TV set.

The Tiscali TV Trends Report 2007 found that 42 per cent of UK adults believed that the traditional TV schedules of today will be a thing of the past in 10 years' time.

Using on-demand TV services won't make viewers watch more programmes, however. Of those already watching some form of on-demand content, 42 per cent said they watch less TV as a result, and a further 41 per cent watch about the same amount.

Of those who had yet to try TV on demand, 71 per cent that said movies were the most compelling reason to try out a broadband television service. TV shows or soaps was the second most popular reason (49 per cent), followed by sports (32 per cent).

More than half of the 1,465 respondents (51 per cent) said they would prefer to rent a movie by downloading it through their broadband connection rather than going out to a video rental store.

High demand

Neal McCleave, managing director of media services for Tiscali UK said: "There is obviously a big demand already among British consumers for the freedom and choice IPTV will give them, even if they don't know the jargon yet.

"The good news for consumers is that with all the extra choice and freedom, we're not all going to become couch potatoes. While the growing adoption of IPTV may mean we watch less TV overall, the time we spend in front of the box will be of a higher quality," he said.

While this survey is skewed towards IPTV, the concept of on demand video extends right across existing cable and satellite technologies too. Telewest and NTL (soon to be Virgin Media) already operate on demand TV and movie services, while Sky complements its near-video-on-demand (NVoD) Box Office with downloadable content.

Let's also not forget that PVR technology such as Sky now enables the average TV viewer to auto-record theikr choice of programmes to watch whenever they like. In many ways, the current TV schedules are already an irrelevance for most people.

Tiscali is expecting more than a third of its 1.4 million UK broadband subscribers to subscribe to IPTV services when it relaunches Homechoice as Tiscali TV later this year.