Zurich, 22 October 2007
More and more of the Swiss population are making the most of digital TV services. New technology and the equipment that goes with it is no longer just being used by people who closely follow high tech trends. The Link Institute survey clearly shows that the take-up of digital TV and pay TV services is on the rise. Just 8% of respondents are put off by the range of services available.
More than 20% of the respondents now subscribe to a digital pay TV service. One of the reasons cited is that around 60% of those surveyed prefer to watch TV without adverts. This compares with a figure of just 45% in 2005. 36% of Swiss households watch television on one or more flat screens. Just 21% did so two years ago. DVD players are a standard piece of hardware for close to 70% of the people surveyed - in 2005, only half of Swiss households gave this response. It's only in the area of games consoles that things are slow to change. This year, as in 2005, around 35% of the respondents said that they owned such a device.
Against all expectations, the growing range of services on the Internet has not attracted viewers away from the TV according to the survey. More than half of the respondents still watch TV every day and say that since connecting to the Internet they watch the same amount or more TV programmes. But they do it in a more selective and individual way. A lot of people want to put their own viewing schedule together and the latest technology allows them to do this with ease. 75% of those surveyed rated this need as important or very important; in 2005 the figure was just 59%.
The importance of high-speed Internet connections is growing. The survey conducted in the autumn of 2005 found that a quarter of the Swiss people surveyed still accessed the Internet using a dial-up connection. The current study shows that this now applies to just 6%, while ADSL connections are becoming increasingly popular (64% of respondents). The number of Swiss people receiving TV through their Internet connection rather than via cable or satellite has almost tripled since 2005 and now stands at 14% according to the new survey. 10% of the people surveyed use their computer to watch TV while the other 90% prefer a TV set. In both cases, the respondents like to watch TV at home best, and increasingly prefer to do so with others (22% in 2005, 44% in 2007). Despite the latest technology available only 1-2% said that they watch TV on mobile devices like notebooks, mobile DVD players or their mobile phone. The Internet has also only slowly become more commonly used to listen to the radio or to music. In this year's survey, 37% of those questioned said that they listen to music or radio through the Internet, compared with 31% in 2005. These results are even more remarkable when you consider that the study was conducted using an online panel, allowing it to target people who clearly use the Internet.
As well as using a representative general Internet panel, the Swisscom survey also targeted Bluewin TV customers. And they proved to be at the forefront of general trends. For example, they own more flat screens (40% of Bluewin TV customers compared with 24% of the other respondents) and 33% already have a VDSL Internet connection, compared with just 1% of the other respondents. Bluewin TV customers make frequent use of their favourite services. 70% said that they watch TV every day. Two thirds of those surveyed gave the possibility of being able to watch programmes and films at a time that suits and being able to put together their own viewing schedules as the main benefits of digital services. The simple way in which programmes are recorded is important to 60% of the Bluewin TV users surveyed. Everyone involved in the survey, including the Bluewin customers, said that the variety of channels, live sports coverage and most especially the electronic TV listings were important or very important customer benefits.
Swiss people are very interested in new media like online TV, IPTV and HDTV. 17% of those surveyed already use one of the new forms of technology and find that they enrich their lives and close to 40% are interested in them but want to find out more before committing. Just 8% of the people questioned feel put off by the huge choice such services offer. Image quality is very important in the new technology and close to 80% rate it as very important. Likewise more than half said that they have a high resolution TV (HDTV) or will be taking this into account when they next buy a TV.