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Canadian viewers give TV poor reception

Canada’s private TV broadcasters received a harsh message at their annual convention yesterday.

Preliminary analysis of a major audience study shows that one of three viewers don’t much care for what they’re watching.

The report may help make sense of other data showing that overall viewing is down.

The survey of 1,000 viewers was conducted by the Angus Reid Group, one of the country’s leading marketing/polling firms, for the Canadian Assn. of Broadcasters.

CEO Angus Reid says dissatisfaction is generally equal among all subsets of viewer interest. Film and sports fans are somewhat happier with what’s on the dial; upscale news and cultural watchers are the least content.

But this isn’t an invitation to establish new TV services. Reid says consumers are more interested in better quality on existing channels than buying new cable packages.

“There may be a bit of wear-out in terms of new channels,” Reid told the CAB, noting that viewers aren’t willing to pay much more for either more or better TV.

While 56% would be willing to spend an additional 25 cents per month for cable, only 23% would agree to paying $ 2 more (the current average is $ C24 (US $ 19.33) per month.

Asked where they would prefer to see any additional cable fees spent, nearly two-thirds said the money should go toward improving the quality of existing channels. Only 23% favored adding new services to cable, but 34% would like to see any new cash distributed to existing private broadcasters.

Reid’s research divides Canadian TV watchers into six major categories: Competitive Newshounds (17%); Entertainment Seekers (18%); Fun/Sports Fans (20 %); Upscale News & Culture (13%); Movie Addicts (20%); and Community Information Seekers (13%). He reports that these groups want different things and are often at odds with one another.

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