FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAD COUCH DISEASE REACHES EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS
London, 25 Octoberů Findings from landmark research on the current practices in UK, US and French interactive television (iTV) services were previewed today by Shelley Taylor & Associates. StayTuned2 is the most recent version of international research that evaluates iTV viewer interface, and documents the latest outbreak of the interactive television viewer disease Mad Couch Disease. Research shows that national borders have been unsuccessful in containing new strains of the extremely contagious viewer affliction, first diagnosed by Shelley Taylor in January 2001. Symptoms of the disease have spread rapidly in households with interactive television causing viewer vertigo, set top boxing, remote control anxiety, and perpetual channel surfing. Research conducted in Shelley Taylor & Associates' Center for Consumer Disease Research has linked Mad Couch's symptoms to e-commerce user interface diseases, Abandoned Shopping Cart Syndrome and Post-Transaction Anxiety Disorder, diseases often blamed for many of the dot.com deaths.
StayTuned2 evaluates 50 iTV services, including cable and satellite providers such as DirectTV Interactive, DirectTV UltimateTV, and others in the US as well as Telewest, BSkyB in the UK, TPS and Canal Satellite in France. Programs evaluated include virtual channels (e.g., Barnes & Noble, ESPN), broadcast (e.g., Crime Scene Investigation, Sky News and Sports, Bloomberg) and dual screen interactivity (e.g., Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Weakest Link).
"Interactive television has not been developed to meet the needs of the hungry viewer who, bored with regular television programming, sent letters to broadcasters demanding that they be allowed to buy Ally McBeal's purse while watching the show, or bet on horses while tuned to the races," says Shelley Taylor, the publisher of StayTuned2. "In fact, current iTV initiatives risk repeating the early and costly mistakes of website design. Just as e-commerce sites jettisoned all traditional merchandising wisdom, ignored consumer needs and marched blindly in the direction of false profits, iTV companies are focusing on technology rather than creating a compelling viewing experience."
Ben Taylor, director of the research project elaborates, " iTV has the potential to far exceed the growth and adoption rate of DVDs by providing similar enhancements while offering the information access of the internet. The challenges for iTV players are to give viewers control of the experience and to use the medium of television for all that its worth."
SOME KEY HIGHLIGHTS
The Path of Greatest Resistance
The Medium is the Message
Huge sums have been spent on the infrastructure to enable interactive television but few iTV services have seen any returns. Early failures at generating revenues are probably more to do with the lack of a satisfying experience for viewers than to fundamental problems with the business model.
Television commerce (T-Commerce) was once lauded as a potential source of tremendous revenue, an opportunity for monetizing interactive television. Most iTV shops bar the door to transactions to all but the most tenacious shoppers by failing to mimic even the most basic brick and mortar shopping conventions (product information, customer support, order tracking, to name a few).
Shelley Taylor & Associates is a management consulting and business publishing firm focusing on management quality issues, with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. Other publications include Click-Here Commerce 2000, an international study the success factors of e-commerce, and Return to Sender, a study of online order fulfillment. For more information contact 1-650-473-6514 (US) or 44-207-243-3438(UK), or visit our web site at www.infofarm.com.
The research was launched at a breakfast briefing in London on 25 October, 2001. The full study, which includes a company-by-company analysis and specific examples of best and worst practices, is available for purchase from the London office (+44 (0)20 7243 3428), email@example.com or US office (001 650 473 6514). The Executive Summary will be available to staff reporters upon request. Interviews with Shelley Taylor can be scheduled by calling the UK office of Shelley Taylor & Associates (tel:44 (0)20 7243 3438), Shelley's UK mobile (44 7768455 671).