Coax CablePay-TV providers are missing the mark when it comes to the features and functionality current digital video network technology offers, according to the latest quarterly report on media and entertainment industry trends from TiVo’s Digitalsmiths.

Over one in ten respondents (10.8%) to Digitalsmiths’ latest quarterly consumer survey could potentially leave their current cable or satellite pay-TV service provider over the next six months,researchers found. 6.7% said they plan to change providers over this period, while 4.2% said they plan to cut their service altogether or switch to a third-party app, according to Digitalsmiths’, “Q4 2013 Video Trends Report.”

Added to this, another 32.1% can be considered “on-the-fence,” indicating “maybe” when asked if they intended to change or switch providers or cut their current pay-TV service, which brings to 43% the percentage who “could be considered ‘at-risk’ subscribers,” Digitalsmiths notes.

Other key takeaways from Digitalsmiths’ latest quarterly report include:

  • Almost one-third (30.9 percent) of consumers surveyed are overwhelmed by the number of channels offered to them
  • 88.2 percent watch the same channels over and over again
  • 72.8% do not order movies from their Pay-TV providers’ VOD offerings. However, 45.3% of respondents are using subscription OTT services such as Netflix and Hulu
  • 53.2% of respondents would like to see recommendations of video content within their channel guide

Notably, of the 10.8% who indicated they could potentially leave, nearly half (47.8%) said they would consider staying if their current provider offered functionality that makes it easier to find programming they’re interested in watching.

Also on the bright side for cable and satellite pay-TV providers, just under one in five (19.6%) said they were unhappy with their current provider. The top two reasons cited for subscribers’ dissatisfaction: “increasing fees for cable/satellite service” and “increasing fees for Internet service.” “Bad channel selection” followed as a close third.

Examining pay-TV viewing, nearly 17% of respondents lessened their level of cable or satellite service in 4Q, though just over 18% increased it. Breaking out the results, Digitalsmiths highlights:

  • Decreased Services – The survey results illustrate cord-thinning, the act of cutting one or more Pay-TV services, continues to be a real threat. While premium channels might be the top service added, for the fifth quarter in a row premium channels are also the top service cut. Another interesting finding is that Premium Sport Packages are the third most cut service.
  • Increased Services – Though slightly down from the previous two quarters, premium channel subscriptions remain the top service added for the third quarter in a row; followed by Internet and HD services. It is important to note that premium sports also continues to grow and is an area we will watch closely as many Pay-TV providers are increasing their efforts around sports programming.

Turning to respondents’ TV viewing habits, Digitalsmiths found:

  • Nearly 50% of respondents watch 2 hours or less of live TV from the channel guide, a very minimal decrease quarter over quarter.
  • Twenty-one percent of respondents watch 2 to 5+ hours of recorded/DVR’d content, while 42.6% watch 2 to 5+ hours of live TV — demonstrating less viewership of DVR’d content than live programming from the channel guide.
  • Forty-six percent of respondents spend 10 minutes or more channel surfing per day, a consistent response from Q3 2013.

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