Global survey says pay TV gaining favor

Study also finds more fragmentation as TV viewing rises

The viewing of TV content continues to rise but is becoming more fragmented, according to a new study by consulting company Accenture, which also found consumers are more willing to pay for TV programming though a subscription model.

According to the survey of nearly 14,000 consumers across 13 countries -- including such industrial leaders as the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan and such less-developed countries as Mexico, Brazil and Malaysia -- TV viewership has grown since last year. In a sign of increased market fragmentation, also gone up is the portion of viewers watching six or more channels (40% vs. 35% in 2008) and watching eight or more programs per week (39% vs. 33%).

Meanwhile, the number of viewers willing to watch TV programs on a computer or mobile device has each increased by 13% over the past year to 74% and 45%, respectively.

The survey also found that viewers are loyal to their favorite shows but not to the TV channels the shows are associated with, with 73% saying they watch some programs on more than one channel.

Despite more alternatives like the Internet and onscreen program guides, viewers still use traditional means to find shows they would like to watch: commercials (40%), channel surfing (33%), recommendations from friends and family (30%) and TV listings (28%).

And despite the downturn in the global economy, consumers appear more willing to pay for programming. For example, 49% of those surveyed indicated a willingness to pay for digital-service programming, compared with 40% who said they would prefer to watch ads in exchange for free content.

Among those willing to pay, subscription models beat pay-to-play models, with paying a fee for unlimited programming (selected by 25%) proving much more popular than pay-per-episode or pay-per-season (12% and 9%, respectively).

Subscription service content also appears the most resilient to the economic woes as it showed no drop-off in consumer spending, unlike DVD sales (down 6%), on-demand video (down 5%) and downloading content to a mobile phone or PC (down 3%).