Recent research suggests customers remain generally satisfied with pay television in North America, despite concerns about cost and increasing usage of online subscription services. Only around three out of twenty customers were unsatisfied with the value of their television service, mainly saying that it was too expensive. Overall satisfaction levels remain similar to previous years.

The TiVo Video Trends Report for the second quarter of 2017 canvassed the views of over 3,000 adults in the United States and Canada. Almost 84% of them had a pay-television service.

Of those subscribing to pay television, nearly half were paying between $51 and $100 a month for television services, although over a third reported paying over $100 a month.

Over half of respondents with pay television were satisfied with the value of their pay-television service and almost a third said they were very satisfied.

The proportion that were satisfied has fallen slightly over the last two years to 52.9%, but the percentage describing themselves as very satisfied has risen from 20.9% to 31.2% in a year. The percentage that were unsatisfied with the value has fallen from 23.4% to 15.9% over two years. Most of them said the service was too expensive.

6.3% said they were planning to cut their pay-television service altogether in the next six months. That would be significant if they actually did so, but the reality is that relatively few of them actually will.

Nearly nine out of ten of all respondents said they watched live television accessed from the channel guide on a daily basis, over a third of them doing so for 1 to 3 hours a day. 10.7% reported that they did not watch live television on a regular basis.

However, more than six out of ten said they watched online services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon on a daily basis. Nearly three out out of ten said they did so for 1 to 3 hours a day, although 36% said they did not watch such services on a regular basis.

Over half of all respondents said they used Netflix, up by over 25% in four years to 53.6%, although the proportion has remained the same in recent quarters. Over a fifth said they used Amazon Video, but that number fell from 27.3% to 21.6% over the last quarter. 15.7% said they used Hulu, up from 11.9% to 15.7% in a quarter.

As in previous quarterly surveys, over 8 out of 10 respondents said they watch 10 or fewer shows a week, across pay-television and online services. Over half this group said they watched 5 or fewer shows a week.

Netflix subscribers were asked which features they found most appealing about the service. Nearly 6 out of 10 said the facility for all members of a household to create their own profile. This rated as more important than price. The next most popular feature was autoplay of the next episode in a series.

In general, the main reasons cited for watching online subscription services were convenience, because it was cheaper, there were no commercials, and the ability to watch particular programmes or whole seasons. Interestingly, only 16% said it was because they enjoyed the original programming offered by these services.

Awareness of ‘TV Everywhere’ services offered by pay-television providers has increased to just over half of respondents, up from a third two years previously. Adoption of such services has risen from 24% to 34.7% over this period, with over 70% of those using them doing so on a weekly basis.

The quarterly TiVo Video Trends Report contains a range of useful information. The usual caveats apply to self-reported usage in an online survey with a relatively small sample size but the ability to track quarterly trends is valuable.

A J. D. Power survey also reported that pay-television subscribers in the United States are growing increasingly satisfied with online streaming services, but are also spending nearly an hour more a week watching regularly scheduled television programming than they did two years ago.

“Although it seems like the world is consumed with the idea of cord-cutting in the wake of Hulu’s first Emmy and the proliferation of new shows on Netflix and Amazon, the number of current pay-TV customers who plan to cut the cord has actually declined, and the number of hours spent watching old-fashioned, time-slot television is growing,” said Peter Cunningham of J.D. Power.

The Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Study was based on a survey of over 27,000 customers across the United States.

AT&T and DIRECTV topped the national customer satisfaction index ranking, followed by DISH Network. Comcast Xfinity came out below the national average, although the spread was not that large, ranging from 731 to 690 on a 1000 point scale.

However, the national average rating of 710 was slightly lower than two years previously when it was 723.