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Close to 1 in 5 (17.5%) pay-TV subscribers are unsatisfied with the level of value they’re receiving from their cable/satellite service provider, per the latest quarterly survey report from TiVo [download page]. For these unsatisfied customers, cost continues to be easily the leading reason why they don’t feel that they’re getting enough value from their provider.

To delve deeper into some of the reasons for dissatisfaction with pay-TV, TiVo looked at a couple of key factors (cost, content discovery) to see how their perceptions varied among those satisfied and dissatisfied with pay-TV.

The results suggest a correlation between the average monthly bill for pay-TV and satisfaction with the service:

  • The almost third (31.7%) of pay-TV subscribers who reported being “very satisfied” with their service were paying $88.53 on average for TV services;
  • The half (50.8%) of subscribers merely “satisfied” with their service were paying roughly $5 more per month ($93.10); while
  • The 18% dissatisfied with their service were paying more than $100 per month ($102.23).

Perhaps as a result of persistent concerns with the cost of pay-TV, more respondents are expressing interest in à-la-carte packages (despite some discussion about the savings they would provide).

In this latest survey, some 82% of the more than 3,000 adults surveyed in the US and Canada said they would be interested in the ability to make their own package by selecting only the channels they want to watch. That was the highest level of interest recorded since TiVo began asking the question at the beginning of 2015.

Ease of Content Discovery Helps

As noted in MarketingCharts’ State of Traditional TV Viewing report, pay-TV providers – locked in a content battle with subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services – aren’t doing themselves any favors on the content discovery front.

Indeed, more than 6 in 10 respondents to TiVo’s survey reported getting frustrated at least sometimes when trying to find something to watch on TV. And while 85% said it’s easy to find something they “want” to watch on OTT/SVOD platforms, fewer (70%) felt the same way about the ease of discovery on pay-TV.

Previous research from TiVo has found pay-TV viewers saying that an OTT-like user interface that aids in content discovery could curb their inclination to cut the cord.

In the latest survey, TiVo compared pay-TV service satisfaction with the ability to find shows:

  • Respondents unsatisfied with their service registered a frustration level of 1.7 (on a 2-point scale) with finding TV shows and movies to watch; while
  • Those satisfied with the service reported a lower level of frustration (1.3); and
  • Those very satisfied with their service were the least frustrated (1.1).

Likewise, those very satisfied with their service were more likely than those unsatisfied with their service to be using advanced discovery features such as personalized recommendations, voice search and pre-made category lists.

These are further indications that traditional TV providers – battling declining engagement – need to provide better content discovery mechanisms to their users.

MarketingCharts’ full analysis of traditional TV viewing, covering various demographic groups and pitting pay-TV versus SVOD in content perceptions, can be purchased here.

About the Data: The TiVo report is based on a survey of 3,013 US and Canadian adults (18+) fielded during Q3 2017.

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