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What Viewers Really Want

1/02/2010 2:00 AM Eastern

After one of the worst years for TV advertising in the medium's history, all eyes are now on this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the key forum for many of the trends that are reshaping television.

As viewers continue to consume video at record levels on every possible platform — television, the Internet and mobile devices — 2010 promises to be a landmark year for long-discussed converged technologies that will make it easier for viewers to access content whenever and wherever they want.

Many executives hope these technologies, which will be in abundant display at CES, could help power a rebound in the industry's fortunes in the next few years. But before that can happen, the multichannel industry will need to better understand consumer demand and develop new business models to finance a wider array of content for online, mobile and other platforms.

Multichannel News' annual “Viewer Watch” study is an extensive exploration of changing video-usage patterns across all platforms. This compilation of data offers a wide array of metrics, as well as analysis culled from extensive interviews with executives, researchers and analysts.

Much of the focus is on the future of the cable industry, with charts providing projections for a wide variety of digital services, including HDTV, digital video recorders and the Internet. But the report is also designed to provide readers a sense of where the industry is today, with data on current penetration and usage of video, as well as top 10 rankings of cable networks.

Among the research organizations that were particularly helpful in providing data, we'd like to thank Horowitz Associates, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Nielsen Co., Forrester Research and Fox Cable Networks, which compiled some Nielsen ratings data for this report. Contributing writer George Winslow gathered the data, conducted the interviews and wrote the analysis.

September