Of all the devices and video services at our fingertips, the most clunky to navigate may be the cable TV remote control. Which is sort of symbolic of the biz. Despite efforts by Comcast and others to add enticing pay-per-view VOD features, relatively few of us use them, though there it is, daring us.
A survey by Digitalsmiths says that of the 3,177 consumers in the U.S. and Canada that it polled, just about 74% never rented a movie from their cable or satellite provider. And, you know, never is a very long time in media terms. Never is what people do with newspapers, or the Current cable channel, or Blackberry phones. About 27% rent one or more. But 11.2% said “one” and 5.6% said “two.” Which is close to never in my book.
Digitalsmiths notes that even a sliver of a great big money pie is a lot of money. But it nothing like it could be.
According to this same report, 4.3% plan on quitting their cable/satellite provider in the next six months. But here’s an eye-popping figure: 27.5% said they’re thinking about it. In the next six months.
It’s true many of us think about many things we never do—volunteering, exercising—but it would seem to be true that millions of us could add “calling the cable company to disconnect” to the list of unpleasant things we may be forced to do, as much as we would like to. Love to.
I don’t think most of those 27.5% are ready to do it. But it does show they don’t have much fondness—actually quite a lot of antipathy, at best-- for cable or satellite TV. That’s another reason OTT providers and devices should be able to walk in and take over America, just like Nikita the K said the Soviet Union would do someday.
Astonishing, but according to this report, in the second quarter of 2013, 49% of the respondents thought getting VOD material from their cable/satellite provider was easy. By the third quarter, that figure slipped all the way to 37%.
Now, I doubt multi-channel video providers came out with some device that makes it even more cumbersome to rent a movie from them. More likely is that others made it easier, or, going back to the original thesis, many millions are increasingly just disenchanted. Disconnect figures seem to back up that idea.
Customers are disconnecting, figuratively and then literally.
Even seemingly convenient and more up-to-date features don’t cut it. MediaPost’s Aaron Barr in September wrote about a Digitalsmiths finding that 68% of smartphone and tablet owners have not downloaded their TV providers’ app. But 35% have subscribed to an OTT service like Netflix or Hulu.
This latest report says 55.9% of survey respondents use Redbox Kiosks at retail stores, rather than pluck a film from their cable/satellite operator. “This is nonsensical, since the cost in time and money of driving to the store for a one day rental is far greater than accessing a VOD title,” Digitalsmiths says, which is obviously, and kind of amazingly, so, so true.