Study looks at early adopters

Broadband-media consumers fall into distinct categories

So just who are those so-called early adopters?

A new Nielsen study focused on broadband-media consumers reveals that these folks are hardly a homogeneous group of gizmo geeks. Because who they are and how they get involved with broadband media can help advertisers and producers figure out how best to market their products, Nielsen did a deep dive into data and came up with eight distinct categories of such consumers.

Far ahead of the tech-adoption curve is what the study terms "extreme techies": tech innovators at the forefront of adoption behavior.

Watching as much as 91 minutes of online video content in an average week, they represent 8% of the adult broadband population in the U.S., or 4.6 million viewers. A good majority watch TV online in addition to regular TV viewing (64%) and have specific targets for online video content (60%). They also own an average of four cross-platform devices, such as console gaming systems and cell phones, to view TV or movie content, with 38% also having connected TV sets to their computers.

These extreme techies are chiefly male (63%), with a mean age of 31 and an average annual household income of $67,000. Also, nearly half (47%) are married, and 57% have children younger than 18 at home.

The study was based on respondents' levels of engagement with video content across TV, online and mobile platforms as well as devices used and attitudes toward using multiple platforms. The other groups as defined by the study are modern media mavens, trendsetters, on-the-go time-shifters, TV-seeking enthusiasts, TV-devoted online socializers, all-around traditionalists and entertainment indifferents.

Although each is unique in its behavioral pattern, the TV-devoted online socializers segment stands out as an example of conservative behavior. Compared with extreme techies, consumers in this group are older (mean age 47), skew female (57%), are less financially well off ($49,000 annual household income) and much less likely to stream video (28 minutes per week).

Rather, they are extremely loyal to their TV sets, watching 47 hours of TV each week compared with 21 hours for the extreme techies. Also, one-third are not using alternative platforms for TV or film content. They use other media like the Internet only to send e-mails to friends and family.

"Results of the study can help networks answer the 'how' and 'why' questions behind TV ratings," said Linda LaVigne, senior director of research at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, the client for which the study was undertaken.

Titled "Crossing Over: Understanding Television's Multi-Screen Migration," the study surveyed those in Nielsen's MegaPanel to capture a complete range of online behaviors and used a new segmentation model to describe digital consumers in today's fast-evolving marketplace.