We are often told that people want to watch whatever they want, wherever they are, whenever they want. Yet even when they have the opportunity they do not necessarily use ‘TV Everywhere’ style services. While awareness is increasing, adoption and usage remains relatively low. Another survey provides an insight into use in North America, suggesting that accessing such services on phones and tablets is still far from mainstream.
The quarterly Video Discovery Trends Report from Digitalsmiths, now a TiVo company, surveyed over 3,000 adults in the United States and Canada. 37% of respondents said their pay-television provider offers an app to watch video on phone or tablet. Just under half said they were unsure. Furthermore, only one in five respondents said they had downloaded such an app to their phone or tablet and of these six out of ten said they rarely or never used it.
Of those that had downloaded a ‘TV Everywhere’ video app, 12.5% of respondents said they used it five or more days a week. A further 27.5% said they used it between one and four days a week, while 44.2% used it less than once a week and 15.8% said they never used it.
So, out of 3,090 respondents, around 660 had downloaded a service provider app and around 265 used it more than once a week. That is around 9% of those surveyed, which is consistent with other studies.
Asked about a range of television network apps, seven out of ten respondents did not have any of them downloaded on their phone or tablet. The ABC app had been downloaded by 7.7%, followed by NBC at 5.7%, CBS at 5.6%, ESPN at 5.5% and FOX News at 4.0%.
Of the 30% that had a television network app, 16.9% said they used it five or more days a week, while 39.5% said they used them less than once a week and 4.6% said they never used any of them.
Only a minority used standalone programme guide apps, although those they did they were used more frequently. The most popular was TV Guide, downloaded by 3.6%, but 93.8% of respondents did not have any installed. Of those that did, 26.4% reported using them five or more days a week, while 28.4% said they used them less than once a week.
Social TV apps were slightly more popular, largely due to Shazam, downloaded by 11.2% of respondents. The next most popular was BuddyTV, downloaded by 1.2% of those surveyed, while 85.8% had none of those mentioned. Even among the 14.2% of those that had a social television app, 57.2% said they used it less than once a week or not at all.
All of which suggests that despite the hype, these television apps have yet to become mainstream.
In comparison, 42% of respondents said they used Netflix. The main reasons given for using such online subscription services were convenience, lower cost, the ability to watch entire seasons of shows, a better selection of programmes, and ease of finding them.
Asked how they rated the value received from their television service provider, more than three out of five said they were satisfied or very satisfied. 22.2% said they were unsatisfied and by far the most popular reason was increasing fees.
7.5% said they were planning to change provider in the next six months, while 2.3% said they were considering switching to an online service instead and 3.8% said they were planning to cut their pay-television service.
Of those planning to change or cut their service, 37.9% said they would reconsider if their service provide made it easier to find something to watch.
Digitalsmiths, which was acquired by TiVo in January 2014, provides a search and recommendation platform for television service providers. The implication of its survey is that subscribers would value pay-television services more if it were easier for people to find something to watch.
While customer dissatisfaction should be a cause for concern for television service providers, there is still little evidence that pay television is losing subscribers overall. Although there is an apparent imperative to offer subscribers more flexible viewing options, the irony is that take up remains relatively modest.
The informitv Multiscreen Index shows that the top ten pay-television services in the United States actually gained over 300,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2104, contrary to popular expectation.
The Digitalsmiths Video Discovery Trends Report is based on a survey of 3,090 adults in the United States and Canada in the first quarter of 2014. The informitv Multiscreen Index covers quarterly change in subscriber numbers for 100 leading pay-television services worldwide.