Most Still Watch Favorite TV Shows Live

Survey: Only 3% Believe Brand Integration Makes Them Want to Buy

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NEW YORK ( -- Maybe we shouldn't dwell on the digital revolution too much as we head into the thick of broadcast upfront week. Just 1% of people say they "most often" view TV by downloading or streaming shows, according to a new national survey commissioned in time for upfront week by Time Inc.'s Entertainment Weekly. A full 60% percent still watch their favorite shows live, while 14% watch their favorites later that week and another 9% watch later that day.

That's not because anyone loves sitting through commercials. Given a choice, 66% of people surveyed said they would rather see product placement in their favorite shows than actually watch commercial interruptions. They don't think product placement works -- only 3% said brand integration makes them want to go buy the products -- but they'd rather see that than commercials.

Netflix effect?
Fully 31% of people with digital video recorders say they watch "none" of the shows they record, the survey found. Maybe that's an echo of the Netflix effect, in which Netflix members clog up their queues with movies they think they should watch, like "Citizen Kane," instead of movies they actually would watch, like "Bad Boys 3." Maybe everyone is Tivo-ing "John Adams" while they actually gather around "American Gladiators." The survey doesn't say.

The rise of year-round programming proved at least a modest winner: Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, according to EW, 55% agree that spring and summer schedules have improved.

And it's true that 58% of respondents said they would be more likely to watch a new TV show with a title that seems familiar, which is good news ahead of a season that will see revamped versions of "Knight Rider," "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Robinson Crusoe." But not all series from our past are reincarnated equally. When asked which remake or adaptation they were most excited to see, the talking car show won with 28%.

The survey also asked respondents whether they could describe what the upfronts are. You'll be shocked to hear that more than half didn't know. The most popular wrong answer, from 11%, said they thought the upfronts were parties held before political conventions. And 15% nailed it, calling them TV networks' annual sales pitches to advertisers.
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