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9 Services on Average

Consumers Overwhelmed by Video Content Options, Navigation: TiVo

Consumers are overloaded with content, and it has become difficult to manage, said TiVo executives on a Thursday webcast for the company’s biannual video trends report, based on a Q2 survey of 4,500 respondents 18 and older in the U.S. and Canada.

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The average number of video services per respondent reached 8.8 in Q2 vs. 6.9 in Q4, TiVo said, including five paid and 3.7 free services. The number was higher, 11.3, for the 18-30 age group. On average, consumers spend $142.20 monthly on internet and video, the report said.

As the number of streaming services grows, managing and navigating them is increasingly challenging, said the report. Leading pain points for video customers are finding good TV shows and movies to watch (60%), figuring out which service has the most desired content (59%), cost (55%), the large number of services available (55%), disappearance of content from a service (55%) and having to go in and out of multiple apps (46%), it said.

Consumers are looking for a better way to manage content “and have it accessible at the right cost through a single platform or resource,” said TiVo's Fariba Zamaniyan, vice president-advanced media and advertising. Kase Niles, senior manager-research and strategy at the Xperi subsidiary, said consumers are also looking for an interface to pay for all their content. In the survey, 88% indicated an interest in having the ability to view, browse and search all of their available content from one guide or menu; 35% were “extremely interested.”

Services are facing a gap in how users want to access content, said Scott Maddux, TiVo vice president-content strategy and business development. The grid guide is “tried and true and a great way to drop in and view programming from a channel, a provider and partner you know and recognize,” he said. VOD, on the other hand, is driven by directed search and targeted viewing experiences; users can drop in and watch whatever’s showing at a given time using the carousel format, which drives a lot of viewership and advertising, he said. Preference typically aligns with what a customer is used to, said Niles.

About 11% of respondents said they canceled pay-TV service within the last six months, with 73% citing cost as the reason. But 70% said they’re not sure if they were saving money on entertainment after dropping traditional pay TV. Reasons for dropping service included a switch to streaming services (30%), while 10% moved, 8% switched to an antenna and 8% decided to share an account, it said.

Subscription VOD churn is double that of pay TV, said the report. About 37% canceled a service due to a price hike; 30% weren’t using it enough; 25% cited value and budget reasons; 24% felt quality of content was lacking; 23% ran out of things to watch; 22% finished watching a particular show; 15% switched to another service; 15% lost access to certain content; 11% said a sports season ended; and 10% cited the end of a promotional trial.

We’ve moved from cable, but we’re still paying the same amount in our monthly entertainment spend,” said Maddux, “only now it’s fragmented across multiple services.” Consumers are juggling and managing video packages much more frequently, and “they’re fickle.” Consumers will easily “move on” from services that don't have a good solution.

Maddux noted tier one media companies such as Comcast NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS are monetizing both at the premium end with subscriptions and through ad-supported free content. He called the dual approach a “smart move for the industry” that resulted in a step up in content quality for advertising-based VOD services over the past 12 months.

TiVo+ launched two years ago with emerging digital brands. It recently added 44 more services to its portfolio, with studios, broadcasters and traditional cable networks now entering the streaming space, said Maddux, highlighting AMC, QVC and the Hallmark Movies Now. “Quality will drive viewership at the end of the day,” he said.

Over half of those surveyed said they had reached their spending limit for streaming services. Pay-TV subscribers average $112.20 per month, including internet, and another $32.70 for SVOD service. Broadband-only subscribers average $28.10 for SVOD. In addition, monthly transactional spending for rentals and purchases is $11-$26.

By screen, 77% of respondents said they watched pay-TV on a TV, 11% on a smartphone, 6% on a tablet and 5% on a computer. Of virtual MVPD customers, 42% watch on a TV, 26% on a phone, 16% on a tablet and 14% on a computer. Six in 10 SVOD viewers watch on TV, 15% on a phone and 13% on a computer; AVOD customers split viewing among TV (49%), phone (20%), and 13% each for tablets and computers. Sixty percent of respondents also use a phone while watching video on TV; 36% use a computer simultaneously and 30% simultaneously watch a tablet.

Just over 71% of respondents owned a smart TV, 11% higher than in Q4, with Samsung (43%) the most popular brand, followed by LG (19%), Sony (8%), Vizio (6%), Hisense (5%) and TCL (4%). Of those planning to buy a smart TV, 39% plan to shop at Best Buy, 38% at Walmart, 36% on Amazon, 21% at Costco and 18% at Target.

Media players remain the most popular way consumers watch streaming video, said the report, with Amazon Fire TV (30%) and Roku (29%) devices the market leaders, followed by Apple TV (21%) and Chromecast (18%).