As the online video landscape has matured, users are increasingly finding its complicated, expensive, difficult, and not all that personal. A report from Accenture based on a survey of users around the world suggests three issues that are eroding the online video experience. It concludes that simply focussing on standalone subscriber count without positioning for an aggregated future is risky.

The report is based on a survey of 6,000 adults in 11 countries across North America, South America, Europe, South Africa, and Asia Pacific. It identified room for improvement in how users navigate and search across various providers, the types and pricing and bundles they are offered, and the relevance of the recommendations they receive.

One problem is users getting caught in what are described as “rabbit holes” looking for things to watch. As they adopt more services, users must browse through more platforms, screens, and menus to find something to watch. The more services they use, the more frustrated they become. 60% of responded found the process of navigating among different online video services to be frustrating. 44% spend more than six minutes trying to find something they want to watch.

A second problem is paying for multiple services. 63% of respondents said it is too expensive to pay for the entertainment subscriptions they want. 70% said they expect online services to continue to raise their prices. A third of respondents said they plan to spend less on media and entertainment across subscriptions and one-time purchases in the next 12 months.

A third problem is that recommendations are fragmented across providers. 58% of respondents said that searching across services would be more convenient. 56% said they would like to share their profile across services to receive better recommendations and just over half said they would be happy to provide further information to make recommendations more relevant, although the percentage was lower in European countries.

The Accenture report recommends the need for a smart aggregator across multiple platforms to give users more control over what they watch. It suggests that application programming interfaces and data-sharing agreements could create seamless access across online services, including other forms of entertainment. This would serve as a single platform that enables viewers to select exactly what they want to watch, across multiple providers. Personalisation could be improved, by providing seamless navigation and curation across services, created in collaboration with and for every individual.

The report suggests that aggregators offer a range of benefits, the biggest being simply ensuring survival, especially for smaller services.

A summary of the research, Streaming’s Next Act: Aggregators to play a starring role in making consumers happier, is published by Accenture.