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New report shows decline of pay TV, rise of tablets, and boost for “cord cheaters”

News   •   Dec 04, 2015 09:51 GMT

TV viewing habits are changing in the age for anywhere, anytime media. More consumers are looking to cut the cord, giving up their cable and satellite subscriptions in favor of either over-the-top or over-the-air options, according to a new survey by TiVo's Digitalsmiths unit.

The results show that traditional cable and satellite TV providers face significant competition from Internet-enabled digital entertainment companies that provide alternatives to hefty monthly subscription fees. About 61.1 percent of consumers are categorized as “cord cheaters,” or people who use alternatives to traditional pay-TV services. Of those who do not use pay TV, 19.3 percent cut cable in the last 12 months, and 45.1 percent use an antenna to access basic TV channels.

The report sheds light on many topics, including

À La Carte Pay-TV Offerings & OTT Skinny Packages
The majority of consumers do not watch many of the channels offered to them; therefore, Digitalsmiths inquired if there was demand for an à la carte Pay-TV package (read on pages 9-10). The results include:

  • 76.7% of respondents are interested in an à la carte Pay-TV service where they can select, and pay for, only the channels they want to watch.
  • On average, respondents’ ideal á la carte package would consist of 17 to 18 channels
  • On average, the most respondents would pay for their ideal à la carte package was $40.50 a month

Pay-TV Provider Comparisons for OTT and TVE 
See how the top U.S. Pay-TV providers’ subscribers stack up against each other in key categories spanning OTT usage, and TVE awareness and usage. See the results on pages 17, 19, and 28 of the report.

The State of Cord-Cheaters – Cord-cheating 
Cord- Cheating - A phenomenon Digitalsmiths began tracking in Q2 2013, refers to cable/satellite subscribers who also seek video content from OTT services and other third-party services. In Q3 2015, of the respondents who have a Pay-TV provider:

  • 63.1% fall into what Digitalsmiths coined as cord-cheaters
  • 55.1% also use an OTT subscription service.
  • 35.3% also use a pay-per-rental service (ex. Redbox Kiosks).
  • 27.1% use both categories.

Respondents Rank TV Experiences 
Getting viewers to what they want to watch as easily, and quickly as possible should be the #1 goal for any video service provider. With the competition of OTT services, which typically offer next-gen experiences/UIs, Digitalsmiths wanted real consumer feedback on which offerings achieve this goal. Below is how the respondents, who are also Pay-TV subscribers, ranked Linear TV, PVOD, and OTT offerings (page 31 of report):

  • OTT subscription services offer the best experiences, with 78.2% of respondents saying these services make it easy to find something to watch.
  • PVOD catalogs of Pay-TV providers came in second, with 66.0% of respondents stating they find the discovery experience easy.
  • Linear TV falls in third, with 58.2% of respondents answering it is easy to find something to watch on their Pay-TV service.

Millenials vs. Baby Boomers 
Comparison of how millennials (ages 23 - 30) and an older generation (61-to-70-year-olds) engage with content discovery functionality. Here is a breakdown of the results (page 31 of report):

  • 52.6% of millennial respondents use search functionality when it is available to them, compared to only 37.2% of 61-to-70-year-olds.
  • 34.5% of millennial respondents use the recommendations feature, while only 13.3% of 61-to-70-year-olds use recommendations functionality.
  • 52.4% of millennial respondents want video recommendations, compared to only 29.3% of 61-to-70-year-olds.

DigitalSmith Q3 Report, Download the full report from DigitalSmith
Lightreading: http://www.lightreading.com/video/ott/digitalsmiths-report-shows-growing-cord-cutting/d/d-id/719624