May 12, 2010

The One Thing You Can Never Believe: People

From the Economist... of the oddest and most consistent findings of television research: that people seem unaware of their own behaviour. In surveys they almost always underestimate how much television they watch, and greatly overstate the extent to which they watch video in any other form (See chart below -- TAC). In particular, they underestimate their consumption of live television... a 27-year-old man, claimed to watch recorded television 90% of the time. In fact he watched live TV 69% of the time.

Efforts to improve the TV-watching experience have often gone wrong because they took people at their word. The past ten years have seen a parade of websites and set-top boxes—Apple TV, Boxee, Joost, Roku—offering a huge range of content and interactive features. All promised to deliver TV the way people (that is, individuals) really want it.... Efforts to turn TVs into personal e-mail devices and home-shopping outlets have fared no better. “The killer application on television turns out to be television,” says Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO of the Digital TV Group.

Thanks to Howie Goldfarb for this.

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