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News Analysis
WebTV Report Card 2001, Pt. 1: Users Grade the Product


By Net4TV Voice Research Staff
(May 24, 2001)

The WebTV Report Card Poll has been completed, and over 8,300 WebTV users and former users told us what they think. We're still analyzing the data, but in this report, we've got the first results of the users' grades of the WebTV experience.

Who Answered the Poll?

In this report, we have analyzed the 8,152 unique responses we received from WebTV users who took the poll on their WebTV box (WebTV users who answered from a PC aren't included in this first report). The charts below show the distribution of the respondents.

Beginning users may not know about Net4TV, so most of our respondents were more experienced.
59% of respondents were on a Plus, and 36% on a Classic. Only 2% were on a satellite box, and 92% of those were DishPlayer. "Other" includes Rogers Cable and test boxes.

Net4TV conducted a WebTV Report Card in Fall 1998, and another in Fall 1999. Each of those had about 2,500 respondents, so this year's participation is much greater. We've a comparison of prior years' grades for questions that were included in those polls.

Users Grade the WebTV Product Features and Functions

We first asked our respondents to grade a number of features of the WebTV product. The charts below show a bar graph, the grade by percentage of respondents who answered the question, and the percentage of that did not answer is of all poll respondents. The actual numbers are in the right column for each grade.

Grades are calculated with A as 4 points, and F as 0 (similar to a school GPA). Importance is on a 5-point scale, with 5 being extremely important and 1 being not at all important.

Email

A  41.12% 3226
B  35.78% 2807
C  16.74% 1313
D  4.45% 349
F  1.91% 150
NA  3.77% 307
Score: 3.10 Importance: 4.62
Prior Year Comparison
1998
3.21
1999
2.99
2001
3.10
Email continues to be WebTV's highest-graded feature, and also the most important. The importance rating in both prior years was 4.66, and 2001's 4.62 is an insignificant change.

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Web Browsing

A  13.62% 1063
B  28.91% 2256
C  37.56% 2931
D  15.35% 1198
F  4.55% 355
NA  4.28% 349
Score: 2.32 Importance: 4.11
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.59
1999
2.45
2001
2.32
Web browsing is the second most important function, and WebTV's grade slipped further in 2001. Of all of the groups surveyed, the DishPlayer owners gave WebTV the lowest grade for web browsing -- 1.83.

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Shopping

A  17.18% 1165
B  21.23% 1982
C  36.38% 2467
D  9.63% 653
F  7.58% 514
NA  16.82% 1371
Score: 2.39 Importance: 2.27
Shopping was a new question in the 2001 poll, so there are no prior year comparisons. Shopping is only of marginal importance to the majority of the respondents, with over half ranking it a 1 or 2 (on a 5 point scale) in importance. The "apathy factor" (no grade) was also high.

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Chat

A  16.79% 1132
B  26.78% 1806
C  33.07% 2230
D  13.26% 894
F  10.11% 682
NA  17.27% 1408
Score: 2.27 Importance: 2.61
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.26
1999
2.07
2001
2.27
WebTV chatters ranked the feature almost the same as they did in the 1998 poll, up from the 1999 fall-off. But chat interest has waned, falling from a 3.12 importance ranking in 1998 and 3.06 in 1999 to only 2.61 in 2001. The apathy factor of 17.27% was the highest of any question on the main features and, in the importance levels, 47% ranked chat only a 1 or 2 in importance on our 5-point scale.

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Newsgroups

A  35.07% 2500
B  36.10% 2573
C  21.69% 1546
D  4.35% 310
F  2.79% 199
NA  12.56% 1024
Score: 2.96 Importance: 3.22
Prior Year Comparison
1998
3.04
1999
2.92
2001
2.96
WebTV's grade for newsgroups has only slightly changed over the years of polling, and this poll recovers much of the grade that was lost in 1999 (before club groups were instituted). This year's importance is only slightly less than 1999's 3.25, but the apathy factor is much higher that last time's 8.59%.

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Instant Messsenger

A  26.80% 1917
B  28.57% 2044
C  22.94% 1641
D  11.28% 807
F  10.41% 745
NA  12.24% 998
Score: 2.50 Importance: 3.27
The Instant Messenger is new to WebTV, so there is no prior comparison. Despite the problems that the IM has caused to other aspects of the WebTV experience, the feature itself is appreciated, with over 55% of respondents grading it A or B, and over 66% ranking it a 3 (moderate) or above in importance.

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Homepage Building

A  20.50% 1376
B  31.72% 2129
C  30.70% 2060
D  10.24% 687
F  6.84% 459
NA  17.68% 1441
Score: 2.49 Importance: 2.96
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.43
1999
2.32
2001
2.49
WebTV showed marked improvement in its homepage building grade, most likely due to the PageBuilder which was introduced since the 1999 Report Card. The importance has dropped, however, from 3.24 in 1998 and 3.19 in 1999, and the apathy factor has increased slightly.

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Scanning and Video Capture

A  20.09% 1220
B  25.72% 1562
C  32.03% 1945
D  11.64% 707
F  10.51% 638
NA  25.52% 2080
Score: 2.33 Importance: 2.97
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.27
1999
2.15
2001
2.97
The question in prior years was "Audio and Video Capture," and the marked increase is likely due to the fact that an e-scanner is now available (despite its problems). The importance fell sharply, however, from 3.63 in 1998 and 3.56 in 1999 to 2.97 in 2001. Tha apathy factor doubled from 12.57% in 1998 and 12.91% in 1999 to 25.25% in 2001.

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TV Listings

A  34.69% 2255
B  28.12% 1828
C  22.77% 1480
D  6.91% 449
F  7.51% 488
NA  20.26% 1652
Score: 2.76 Importance: 2.62
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.92
1999
2.88
2001
2.76
TV Listings continued their slightly downward trend, and the apathy factor rose from 14.25% in 1999.

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TV/VCR Control

A  28.88% 1795
B  29.80% 1852
C  27.13% 1686
D  6.79% 422
F  7.40% 422
NA  23.76% 1937
Score: 2.66 Importance: 2.72
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.74
1999
2.65
2001
2.66
The grades for WebTV's TV and VCR control features and the interest and apathy factors are almost unchanged across the entire period of the surveys.

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Enhanced and Interactive TV

A  16.42% 960
B  25.03% 1463
C  35.20% 2058
D  11.02% 644
F  12.33% 721
NA  28.29% 2306
Score: 2.22 Importance: 2.29
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.56
1999
2.39
2001
2.22
Well, this wasn't supposed to happen -- the grade for interactive and enhanced TV is going down, not up, and the importance score is down as well, from 2.46 in 1998 and 2.37 in 1999. The apathy factor is up from 20% in 1998 and 22.68% in 1999. If Ultimate TV is betting on this to drive its market, something clearly needs to be done. The New Plus users gave it a score above the average, 2.32, but users on old Plus units were below average, 2.14, so it's not just Classic users who are grading it poorly.

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Printing

A  30.70% 2070
B  30.68% 2070
C  25.50% 1720
D  7.78% 525
F  5.34% 360
NA  17.25% 1406
Score: 2.74 Importance: 3.64
WebTV scores well in printing, which is rated as a 5 or 4 in importance by almost 60% of respondents.

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Games

A  13.33% 911
B  21.96% 1501
C  35.10% 2399
D  17.81% 1217
F  11.79% 806
NA  16.17% 1318
Score: 2.07 Importance: 2.69
Games are of significant importance (4 or 5) only to about 1/4 of WebTV users. Whether or not you're satisfied probably depends on what game you want to play.

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Next, Users Rate the Service

Methodology: How We Conducted and Analyzed the WebTV Report Card Survey, we show how we tallied the poll.

In WebTV Report Card: Part 1, we looked at users' grades for the WebTV product.

In WebTV Report Card: Part 2, we will look at how the users grade the WebTV service.

In WebTV Report Card: Part 3, we will sum up the grades and examine what all of this means.


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