Australians too ready for digital TV, sales may suffer

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: A survey of Australian consumer electronics shoppers shows that as a nation, we might be too digital ready to sufficiently help the suppliers and retailers achieve their respective sales goals. Much emphasis has been placed on the digital switchover to stimulate sales in a year without an Olympics or World Cup, but if the survey results are to be believed, the job may already have been done.

According to the survey of 4,000 consumers, 60 per cent of Australians are already digital ready, either through a set top box or a digital TV. Of the remaining 40 per cent, only four-fifths are planning on making a purchase. In total, a full 9 per cent of Australians are not planning on making any digital purchase in the lead-up to the switchover.

With so many Australians seemingly happy with receiving digital TV through a set top box, it was not surprising that Sony Australia boss Carl Rose recently emphasised the need to focus sales on digital TVs, which cost in the thousands of dollars, as opposed to set top boxes, which can be purchased for under $50.

The survey results are also bad reading for Freeview, with only 5 per cent of respondents indicating they will choose free-to-air digital TV over pay TV.

Contrary to a lot of the comments stemming from the Get Ready for Digital TV conference, it appears Australians are more conscious of digital TV than delegates believed. Much of the talk from this conference was that we need an information deluge from the Federal Government to convey key messages, but they may not be needed as this survey has revealed that 80 per cent of Australians are already aware of digital TV and its content offering.

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