The joy of tech: baby boomers flock to HDTV


3 Jan 2007

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Baby boomers have emerged as the most enthusiastic adopters of new media technologies such as high-definition (HD) TV, digital video recorders (DVRs) and home cinema as well as interactive reality TV shows.

A survey by TV Land, a division of MTV Networks, found that TV entertainment is the key driver for boomers adopting new media technologies.

TV Land estimates the baby boomer market is 78-million strong and is worth US$2.3trn in annual spending – outpacing expenditure by 18-39-year olds by 53pc. Baby boomers are adults aged between 20 to 60.

TV Land’s president Larry Jones said that baby boomers have the numbers, financial means and desire to create their “digital nest”, a place where new media technology is employed to create both a personal escape as well as an entertainment hub for family and friends.

“Considering the fact that boomers have more money than any other demographic to spend, I’m sure cable operators, manufacturers and anyone else who owns or distributes these products will be very interested in this research as they evaluate their business and marketing plans,” said Jones. “If there is one theme we are finding in all of our research across the board, it’s that boomers should not be overlooked.”

The 4 C’s – control, choice, clarity and community – are the factors by which baby boomers determine their entertainment technology purchases, according to TV Land.

It says boomers, unlike older generations, feel that they are youthful enough to fully embrace and be comfortable with technology, but not too young to take for granted the changes technology has brought to the world as younger “tech native” generations do.

According to the survey, entitled The Joy of Tech, boomers are prepared to spend more than younger generations on new technologies, particularly their TV viewing experience. Boomers are prepared to spend US$88 a month compared with young adults’ spend of US$64 a month.

The TV Land research found that 65pc of boomers have tried a new technology in the past three years.

“This is the generation that made status symbols out of cars and they are doing the same with new media products, using high-tech home theatre systems and other tech products to define who they are,” said Tanya Giles, senior vice-president of research and planning at TV Land.

According TV Land, boomers are adopting technologies that optimise their entertainment experience, making them ideal candidates for HDTV. Clear crisp images of HD promise a cinematic experience without going to the cinema.

Boomers are also likely to use digital video recorders (DVRs) for time shifting and access to increased content leading to on-demand programming and a ready market for video-on-demand services.

Another group identified in the survey are the “American Idolators”, the group of boomers that place high importance on the interactivity of new entertainment technologies.

The “Idolators” watch the most TV of any segment, especially competitive and reality TV shows, and are also the most likely to watch full-length TV movies on the internet.

By John Kennedy