Back in the spring, WCTV conducted a survey of the community to assess where we stand and how people are watching television. Over the next month or so, I'm going to share some of what we found. The information will help shape future decisions and strategies.
First of all, thanks for the amazing response! More than 200 of you filled out the survey. We handed out gift cards to two lucky winners who were drawn at random: Deb Comeau and Bernard Lyon.
What were some of the results?
- 43% of you are watching WCTV on television at least once a month.
- 35% are watching WCTV online at least once a month.
These numbers look great to me. They show us that we are known in the community and people are watching the shows and segments being produced by our hard-working volunteers and staff. There's room to grow! I want the majority of people checking us out AT LEAST monthly.
One of the big reasons people don't watch WCTV is because they don't know what's on and when. That's long been a challenge for us. Schedules are posted on our website, but if you're just scanning the program guide on your television, you only see "Local Programming" on WCTV 24 hours a day. There's an effort underway at the State House to change that, because we know how important that feature is. In fact, our survey found that 55% of you use that on screen guide as your number one tool in deciding what to watch.
We also asked about DVR and OnDemand habits. Among people who have a HD cable subscription...
- 64% are watching programs via DVR at least weekly.
- 51% are watching programs OnDemand at least weekly.
These numbers reflect changing patterns in how we watch television. Viewers (including me) don't watch many things as they're scheduled, unless it's a live event (or a hit HBO show that airs on Sunday nights). Most of us are recording our favorite shows and watching them at our convenience.
What does this mean for WCTV? We're working on some tools and tutorials that will make it easier for you to DVR programs on WCTV. I'll also note that while we don't have programs through the cable companies' OnDemand sections, all of our programs are available OnDemand through our website.
One final note for this blog post: 62% of respondents said they own a SmartTV. That number is MUCH higher than I anticipated. As a recent buyer of a SmartTV, I can say it changes habits almost instantly. I still have cable, but services like Netflix and Amazon are built in as well, giving lots more options. And consider this: If you have a SmartTV with a web browser, WCTV's OnDemand section is at your finger tips, simply by going to our website. If you have a YouTube app, you can get our archive content by going to the WCTV YouTube page.
The definition of how people "watch TV" is changing. We'll be evaluating those viewer habits going forward to make sure we're reaching as many of you as possible. And if you tune in to Comcast channels 9, 22 or 99, or Verizon channel 37, 38 and 39, you'll find we are still there! With all sorts of new content coming in all the time!
- Shaun Neville