CTAM, the marketing association for the cable industry, released a study this week that looked at different consumer segments (particularly ones that are influential in the spread of hi-tech), their technology adoption, the decision-making process, and content viewing behavior.
The study drilled in on two influential groups – future shapers and future makers, who collectively represent 30% of consumers. Most people these days have heard of early adopters, a term created by Geoffrey A. Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm, which discussed the gap that exists between those consumers who will adopt new tech products and services early in their lifecycle and the “early majority” users, who are pragmatists and will wait longer.
A Light Reading article on the study explains their significance:
…future shapers (10 percent) are the early adopters of technology who readily spread the word and whose opinions are sought out. Future makers (20 percent) are second stage adopters who will tout the benefits of new technologies. The largest group of consumers is classified as today consumers (40 percent) who wait until technologies are proven before adopting them.
(For more on the significance of influencers, see Malcolm Gladwell’s classic The Tipping Point.)
The CTAM study, Future Shapers and Makers: An Examination of Consumer Segments, conducted by TNS Media & Entertainment, found:
Almost half of today’s technology influencers are choosing television service provided by their cable company over a satellite or telephone company provider. Forty-six percent of technology’s earliest adopters choose cable, while 26 percent chose satellite and 2 percent chose to receive video services from their telephone service provider.
Doing their homework is what sets the future shapers and future makers apart. According to the survey, 67% of future shapers and 59% of future makers are likely to get information about TV services from the Internet, compared to 45% of today’s consumers. The two influencer groups are also more likely than others to obtain information from TV, newspapers, and magazines.
According to the survey, 89% of consumers are concerned primarily with the reliability of the provider, over price
In addition, the study examined the trend in watching video on alternative platforms, such as laptops, portable DVD players or devices like iPods or iPhones. The study found that 37% choose a desktop computer or laptop as their preferred method. You won’t be surprised to learn that younger consumers are most likely to watch programming online, coming in over 50% greater in their tendency to watch video on desktop computers or laptops.
UPDATE: Along these lines, it’s probably worth pointing out another study that came out this week.
In a study conducted by Canadian research firm Solutions Research Group, nearly 80 million Americans, or 43% of the online population, watched a TV show on the Internet, as of November, up from 25% a year ago.
You can read the press release on the Digital Life America study here.