Viewers now more actively involved

Michel Lord General Manager, MarketingTele-Metropole/TVA'Television viewing choices have increased considerably,' Michel Lord says. 'The viewer has more critical faculties, more control, and he or she has become more curious.'In general, the viewer is moving from a passive state of watching tv...

Michel Lord

General Manager, Marketing

Tele-Metropole/TVA

‘Television viewing choices have increased considerably,’ Michel Lord says. ‘The viewer has more critical faculties, more control, and he or she has become more curious.

‘In general, the viewer is moving from a passive state of watching tv towards a more active involvement, as a result of choice,’ Lord says.

‘We’re heading towards a more individualized usage of television, with an increased sense of interaction or interactivity,’ he says.

‘As audiences fragment, and become smaller, broadcasters are trying to create specialized themes unique to themselves, in a way not unlike magazines.

‘On the other hand, specialized channels and pay-tv, even if they grew rapidly at first, have now stabilized at 6% or 7% of the audience [market.]

‘We’re part of the Videotron Group, which provides us with a number of advantages including experimental interactive television.

‘Without leaving cftm-tv, or Tele-4 in Quebec City [the two top tva stations,] TVA+ permits the viewer to watch one of three programs broadcast simultaneously, simply by pressing the F2 button of his or her Videoway terminal,’ he says.

‘Effectively, it means viewers can watch a [tva] primetime program, which, up to this point, had been inaccessible, because of scheduling restraints.

‘And the original commercials, included with the initial broadcast of the show are rebroadcast on TVA+ without additional charges to the advertiser.

‘Interactive television, while still in its experimental stages, allows the viewer to exploit four channels simultaneously.

‘The feature allows viewers to select from a menu of commercials – from the same advertiser, who can broadcast up to four spots during a single commercial break.

‘As for television’s positioning vis-a-vis other media, we believe it has made inroads at the expense of daily newspapers, since 1986.

‘tv is perceived as the most entertaining, exciting and upsetting medium, and at the same time, the most informative and credible.

‘Television has become the leading source of national and international news information, and has made headway in the area of in-depth news analysis – traditionally the strong point of newspapers.

‘More often than not, viewers get their sports news and weather forecasts on television. In the past, they relied more on radio.

‘Demographically speaking, audiences outside the major urban centres [of Montreal and Quebec City] are generally more `captive,’ ‘ Lord says.

‘As for the viewing habits of younger people, they remain essentially `nervous’ in nature – because they move from channel to channel more than older people whose preferences are better defined,’ he says.

‘Increasingly, advertisers are seeking out potential buyers – rather than just looking for viewers [numbers.]

‘However, the ability to measure buyers [reached via television] is something that is yet to be done.

‘Even as television develops more specialized measurement tools, both qualitative and quantitative, it continues to attract mass audiences.

‘Specialization and segmentation are taking place via the development of highly targetted programs, mainly in response to the demands of advertisers.’