Discussion Papers

Peter Kürble

Determinanten der Nachfrage nach multimedialen Pay-TV Diensten in Deutschland
Nr. 148 / Mai 1995
(no longer available)


Figures for the expected growth of the multimedia market differ substantially. One reason for this may be that multimedia is used for a group of different concepts and activities. Another reason could be that the development of the new market has just begun. On the one hand, the German market for videotex-services has been an example for different prognoses at the beginning. It became obvious - on the other hand - that not just technical development is indispensable for success, but also user-friendliness, price and - from the users’ point of view - a discernible benefit. But especially this recognition is one of the major problems for users because the so-called critical mass sy-stems contain characteristics of so-called experience goods.

A short survey of the development of German teletext-services seem to prove these results: this service is free of charge and users just need the common TV remote control. In 1994, the market penetration reached 17 million households. At the same time, „Videotext“ is a good example for the low interest in online-services in Germany. Just 17 per cent of the households used Videotext approximately 9 times a month.

It seemed to be reasonable to look at the US-results because a large number of multi-media-pilot-projects have been started there and some have already been finished. These pilots demonstrated at first that many technical problems remained which prevented a supply on the mass market up to now. Secondly, the readiness to use these services was rather poor. Many people asked in Canada and USA preferred to be coach potatoes.

Due to the lacking Pay-TV-market in Germany, we had to look at the expenditures for mass media, at the development of TV-watching-time and at a few polls. Concerning the expenditures in Germany, we realized a saturation point at 4 per cent of total monthly expenditures. This would imply that increases of expenditures in each supply type are only possible by the shifting of expenditures. This is proved by a comparison of the development of exemplary applications.

In Germany, two major results on TV have to be emphasized: On the one hand, watching time has increased during the last years. On the other hand, a growing number of people do „other things“ while watching TV, e.g. reading books or cooking. Additionally, the time spent for watching videos decreased since 1986.

One poll in Germany revealed that the favourite Pay-TV offer were movie-hits, but only 46 per cent of people asked were ready to pay for them. Another poll demonstrated that 69 per cent do not want to pay anything for the new services and just 6 per cent are willing to purchase new equipment.

Finally, it became obvious that the market penetration will be rather slow in Germany and most of the people will not use multimedia in their homes during their leasure-time in 2000.

Only German language version available.

Discussion Paper is no longer available.

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