social tvDespite their best efforts to date pay-TV providers are increasingly feeling the heat from over-the-top (OTT) competitors rolling out leaner, more personalized and less expensive on-demand video content to viewers.

Nearly 8 percent (7.7) of respondents to a survey conducted by TiVo-owned Digitalsmiths for its 1Q 2015 Video Trends Report said they switched pay-TV providers in the last three months. That’s up 2 percent year-over-year (YoY).

Moreover, 15.3 percent of respondents said they intend to either switch (3.1 percent), change (7.4 percent), or cut their current pay-TV service over the next six months. Nearly one-third (32.4 percent) aren’t sure about whether or not they will stay with their current provider, prompting Digitalsmiths to suggest they might need to be enticed to stay.

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Pay TV Subscriber Survey Results
All told, incumbent pay-TV providers may need to take immediate action to prevent nearly half (47.7 percent) of survey respondents from jumping ship, reducing viewing or cutting off their pay-TV service subscriptions. The percentages of pay-TV subscribers surveyed who plan to switch or change providers or cancel their subscriptions are up 1.7 percent and 3.5 percent since 1Q 2013, the TiVo-owned market research provider notes.

More than 4 in 10 (44 percent) of the 32.4 percent of survey respondents “on the fence” said they would stay with their pay-TV provider if it were to provide new functionality that improved the content search and discovery process. That’s up 6.6 percent from a year ago.

Video Trends Report
Source: Digitalsmiths Q1 2015 Video Trends Report

The most commonly cited reason for subscriber dissatisfaction with their current pay-TV provider is rising subscription fees. “Bad channel selection” also ranked highly, coming in as the fourth most-selected choice by survey respondents.

All that said, nearly 6 in 10 (55.9 percent) survey respondents said they were “satisfied” with their current pay-TV service providers. Two in 10 (19.9 percent) said they were “very satisfied.” Just under 1 in 4 (24.2 percent) said they were “unsatisfied,” a 2 percent YoY increase and the highest since 2Q 2013.

Taking the pulse of respondents’ overall viewing behavior, in its latest quarterly video market research Digitalsmiths found that:

  • 45.6% of respondents watch 1 to 3 hours of TV per day;
  • 51.3% of respondents watch 2 hours or less live TV per day;
  • 69.0% of respondents watch 2 hours or less of recorded TV per day;
  • 46.4% of respondents channel surf 5 to 20 minutes per day, but growth is flat y/y and q/q, which is important when tracking the effects of content discovery implementations.

Other highlights from Digitalsmith’s 1Q 2015 Video Trends Report include:

  • The number of respondents who increased their pay-TV services by adding features such as premium channels, Internet service or high-definition video, (18.4 percent) was offset by the numbers who decreased their use of those services (18.2 percent);
  • Six in 10 respondents are paying $100 a month for pay-TV service, a leading cause of dissatisfaction;
  • Over 8 in 10 (81.6 percent) said they would like to select only the channels they want to watch rather than being required to sign up for a pre-set package of channels;
  • Pay-TV providers including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and Verizon have launched or intend to launch so-called “skinny packages” in response to the á la carte on-demand features offered by OTT service providers.

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