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TV viewers appear to be a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, the more subscriptions they have, the more apt they are to feel that their TV needs are well met. On the other hand, fewer this year than last are feeling positive about the growth in the number of TV sources available to choose from, according to a new study from Hub Entertainment Research.

For the time being, viewers maintain a positive feeling about the growth in the number of TV sources. Some 29% rated their response to this growth as an 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale, where 10 is most positive. That’s about 4 times as many as rated it a 0, 1, or 2, where 0 is the most negative.

At the same time, the 29% feeling very positive about the expansion of TV sources is a considerable step down from last year, when 46% felt that way.

Furthermore, while more viewers have a very clear idea of the differences between TV services (21%) than have no idea about those differences (9%), confusion may be growing. That’s because the 21% with a very clear idea about how TV services differ is down from 31% last year.

Meanwhile, Hub found some interesting results when analyzing viewers’ bundling preferences. Respondents to the survey overwhelmingly would prefer to access all of their TV content from a single source rather than to access different sources individually. (Other research has found more mixed preferences.)

However that aggregation still needs to allow for viewers’ control: research has long suggested that viewers prefer à-la-carte options to the traditional bundles, and Hub’s latest research indicates that not much has changed on that end.

Indeed, 43% displayed a strong preference (8-10 on a 10-point scale) for a service that lets them choose and pay for only the individual networks they want included. By comparison, just 10% expressed a strong preference (0-2 on a 10-point scale) for a service that offers a package of networks, even if that comes with a lower cost per network.

So it appears that viewers still crave control over the individual networks they watch and pay for, but want the ability to aggregate those networks into a single source.

The complicating factor? Just 22% feel that the growing number of TV services makes it easy for them to choose what’s best for them. And yes, that figure has declined from 33% last year…

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 2,056 people in the US ages 16-74 who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week and have broadband at home.

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