The Specialty channels have emerged as the preferred television viewing option among Canadian audiences, according to a new survey entitled the State of Specialty: Wave One. The national consumer research survey commissioned by Alliance Atlantis, and conducted by The Strategic Counsel, queried 1,174 Canadian television viewers on their perceptions and attitudes towards both Specialty and Conventional channels.
The study found that 47% of Canadian television viewers say they prefer Specialty channels to Conventional networks – with only 31% saying they prefer Conventional networks. Among those who prefer Specialty channels, the bulk (44%) cite better quality and/or more interesting programming as the main reasons for their preference. Overall, 53% of Canadians would say that programming available on Specialty channels is better, with only 28% saying programming on Conventional networks is better.
State of Specialty: Wave One reveals that almost half (45%) of Specialty television viewers have increased the amount of time they spend watching Specialty channels, with respondents again citing better quality and/or more interesting programming as the most common (41%) reason.
The survey also reports that almost 40% of viewers are more likely to go to Specialty channels first when they are looking for something to watch and do not have a viewing appointment. Only 27% of viewers say they would go to a Conventional network first when they do not have a viewing appointment. The majority of Specialty viewers (54%) say they will check out one or a few Specialty channels when looking for something to watch.
“The results of this study are consistent with Nielsen Media Research data which clearly indicates that audiences for Specialty channels have overtaken audiences from Conventional television channels,” says Brad Alles, Senior Vice President, Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting, Sales and Promotion. “Over the last several years, Specialty television has come of age in Canada and is now surpassing Conventional television in terms of audience share. This survey was undertaken to report on why the shift is happening and to what extent it is happening. In the end the message is clear, Canadians prefer the programming on Specialty and are spending more time with the Specialty channels. This shift represents an enormous opportunity within our industry.”
The results of this survey were presented April 28, 2004, at the first-annual Spotlight on Specialty Television event held at the Four Seasons in Toronto.
State of Specialty: Wave One Methodology
The State of Specialty: Wave One was commissioned by Alliance Atlantis and conducted by The Strategic Counsel. Results in the report are based on 1,174 telephone interviews with Canadians randomly selected from the general population. The interviews were completed between January 14 and 30, 2004. Results from a sample of this size can be considered accurate to within +/-2.9%, 19 times out of 20. When analysis is done among “sub-samples” the margin of error increases. Data was statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.