12.01.2008

National Survey Shows 'Home Enterstayment' on the Rise

NEW YORK - As families wrestle with managing their home budgets amid the economic downturn, many are re-evaluating how they are spending their discretionary entertainment dollars.  A recent national survey, commissioned by Verizon, of 1,026 adults found that a majority (57 percent) plan to spend more time at home turning to their television instead of events outside the home.  And while this would seem to indicate that American families are stinting on entertainment, in fact, the opposite may be true.

Recent advances in television technology, such as Verizon's digital all-fiber-optic network, have made "home enterstayment" a way for many families to stretch their entertainment dollars while increasing their entertainment options and time together. 

"Staying at home no longer means your entertainment options are limited," said Shruti Joshi, director of marketing for Verizon.  "As families continue to look for ways to manage their budgets, they're realizing that by staying home they actually have more choices, more control and more time together. For example, even in this economy, over the last two months, we see strong growth in FiOS TV video-on-demand sales."  

FiOS TV allows consumers to select from more than 400 total channels and an industry-leading video-on-demand (VOD) library with more than 11,000 titles per month, including 1,000 high-definition (HD) titles.  In addition, FiOS TV offers interactive features such as one-touch access to news headlines and sports action like fantasy football, and even the ability for consumers to record their favorite shows when they're away from home, with the convenience of Verizon's new remote DVR (digital video recorder) programming via the FiOS TV Central Web site (www.verizon.com/fiostvcentral).  These options weren't available even recently with old-fashioned cable TV.

Fueling the "home enterstayment" phenomenon, many retailers are expected to announce deep price cuts in high-end, HD television sets this holiday season.  While, according to the Verizon-commissioned survey, 62 percent of adults say they currently own an HD TV, 16 percent of this group say they would "definitely" or "probably" purchase another before the end of the year.

"Whether consumers have an HD TV or not, Verizon's FiOS TV allows families to have a great TV-watching experience every night," Joshi said.  "FiOS brings stunning picture-and-sound quality, more and more high-definition channels and video-on-demand choices, and exciting interactive features into a consumer's living room - and for less than it costs to take the family to the movies a couple of times each month."

The survey also revealed differences in programming preferences by gender and age - increasingly, "home enterstayment" families will be juggling multiple viewing interests.  And Verizon's FiOS TV offers features to help families satisfy the entertainment needs of all its members without breaking their budget.

For example, Verizon's Home Media DVR allows consumers to view up to three separately recorded programs simultaneously on different sets; pause recorded programming on one set then continue watching it on another; and remotely program and manage the DVR from the Web.

The survey also revealed diverse regional television-viewing preferences among consumers this holiday season.  When asked to identify which type of programming they prefer to watch during the holiday season, 45 percent of adult respondents in the South most commonly replied "football," while 36 percent of those in the West preferred "classic holiday movies."  Consumers most interested in watching "holiday entertaining and cooking shows" were almost evenly split between the Northeast and West (15 percent and 14 percent, respectively).  Of those who preferred to watch "holiday parades," most (9 percent) were in the Midwest.

Additional findings include:

  • When considering the advantages of fiber-optic service, adults expressed the most interest in having the best picture quality (38 percent).  Women were more likely than men to be excited about the picture quality (42 percent versus 34 percent), while men were more likely to be excited about other features (60 percent versus 49 percent), including more HD channels, clearest sound available, and selected interactive services such as viewing Internet videos on the TV.
  • Nearly half of adults (45 percent) were most interested in the ability to browse for TV content using keywords with a fiber-optic service.
  • Of potential features in a fiber-optic service, the most desired is the inclusion of an HD DVR (27 percent).

Verizon FiOS TV is delivered over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network straight to customers' homes and businesses, providing a broad spectrum of content diversity and exciting interactive features that set it apart from cable offerings.  For more information on FiOS TV, consumers can visit www.verizon.com/fiostv.  Consumers can also call their local Verizon sales office or 888-438-3467.

For consumers who sign up for FiOS TV between now and Dec. 31, Verizon is offering free access for 90 days to three premium entertainment packages - Cinemax, HBO and FiOS TV's Movie Package, which features Showtime, Starz, The Movie Channel, Sundance Channel and IFC.  This package includes 40 HD premium channels as well as more than 9,000 free VOD titles per month.

Additional survey findings can be found at: http://policyblog.verizon.com/policyblog/blogs/policyblog.aspx.