Consumers Looking To Cut Or Switch Pay-TV Providers

Nearly 15% of consumers who have pay TV service are planning to make changes to their subscriptions in the next six months. That’s according to the Quarterly Video Trends Report for the third quarter, published by Digitalsmiths and based on a survey of more than 3,000 consumers in the United States and Canada.

About 4.8% of respondents said they intend to cut their pay service completely, while 7.2% plan to switch to another provider, and 2.7% said they will change to an online or rental service. Collectively, that’s an increase from the third quarter of 2015, when 8.1% of survey respondents said that they had switched their pay-TV provider.

In addition to those numbers, another 31.8% said they “may be changing providers” in the next six months.

While multichannel video service providers have always had to deal with the issue of churn, that possibility has become thornier given the plethora of online options today and the rise in prominence of cord-cutting, as well as cord-shaving.

Consumers are switching in part because they aren’t happy with their current service. In fact, 24% said they are unsatisfied -- a 2.5% increase from two years ago, the report said. Switchers say they’re doing so because of increased fees for both cable and satellite service as well as for Internet service.

In the third quarter, about 63% of pay-TV subscribers also used other services for programming, with 55% relying on an over-the-top service, 35% using a pay-per-rental service such as Red Box, and 27% using both. Those numbers have gotten bigger over the last two years.

Perhaps of greatest concern for multichannel pay-TV providers is how consumers view the experience of over-the-top services. About 78% of respondents said over-the-top subscription services offer the best user experience, making it the easiest to find programming to watch. Paid video-on-demand came in second, and linear TV landed in third place.

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