Testing consumer interest in the electronic highway: What do consumers want?

Date of publication: May 1, 1994

Author: Barry Kiefl


This paper will review a long term Canadian research programme which has tested consumer interest in and demand for what might be termed the first generation of new communication services-teletext services, cable TV specialty channels, repeat channels and a direct-to-home satellite service. These early new services, which have their counterparts around the globe, represent only the very beginning of the convergence of conventional TV/radio broadcasting with telecommunication systems, which will offer features such as improved picture and sound, data as well as audio-video retrieval and, most importantly, interactivity (virtually instant two-way communication between content suppliers and subscribers and, potentially, even among subscribers on the system.) The paper will begin with a review of pertinent research studies, explore the effects of research design on results, discuss some key findings about consumer reaction to communication services introduced in recent years and conclude with some hypotheses about consumer acceptance of future new services. The paper concentrates on TV and video services but many findings will be applicable to other future communication services. Similarly, the focus is on consumer entertainment services but much of what is discussed applies to business, education, government services, etc.

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