Pay-TV subs want better search features

Research sponsored by Veveo, a provider of semantic technologies designed to bridge the usability gap in connected devices and applications with intelligent search, discovery and personalisation solutions, reveals that pay-TV users perceive content discovery in television to be inadequate for their needs. Furthermore, the research found that pay-TV usability is not keeping pace with the usability advances consumers are experiencing in other aspects of their connected lives, such as web, mobile, and social media.

The purpose of the research was better to understand attitudes and opinions about the role and importance of search, discovery and recommendation features in TV/video viewing experiences of consumers. Among the survey’s findings:

• Sub-optimal search and discovery methods cause measurable loss to service providers, with more than 85 per cent of pay-TV subscribers surveyed noting that they turn off the TV without finding something to watch at least some of the time.

• More than 60 per cent of users spend more than 10 minutes a day searching for content, and more than 10 per cent feel they spend either a considerable amount of time or a lot of time looking for content.

• Product features emerged as the second most prominent reason for customer churn, behind price, as the reason users switch service providers.

• When it comes to choosing between finding content through efficient search features or having content recommended to them, 75 per cent of survey respondents prefer to have better search solutions offered to them by their service provider.

• Voice search is also a desired feature for many of today’s viewers. A full 60 per cent of survey participants said they would use voice-controlled search on their TVs if their service providers offered it.

• More than 70 per cent of focus groups participants said they would consider switching their pay-TV provider to gain access to conversational interface technology.

The research generated in-depth findings on viewer habits and preferences, including similarities and differences between generations (with responses broken out between specific audience segments including Baby Boomers, Gen-X and Millennials). Factors affecting churn and length of time consumers maintain – or are willing to extend – their pay-TV contracts for specific features were explored, as well as time spent searching for and watching TV content, and more.

The overarching conclusion of the research findings is that viewers’ inability to efficiently find the content they are searching for is causing lost revenues for pay-TV operators as (a) the time spent finding content is significant and takes away from viewing time, and (b) most users have ultimately turned off their televisions without watching anything.

Veveo suggests that by better meeting subscribers’ search needs, pay-TV operators would benefit from increased viewing as the length of time searching for content would decrease. Enabling users to easily find suitable content would also reduce the number of instances when the TV is switched off without watching, again increasing viewership. Beyond increasing viewer metrics, pay-TV operators stand to gain increased revenue by offering better search, recommendation or voice enablement features, as users stated they would be willing to extend their contracts by some length if offered these features.

Veveo’s research was conducted via a survey of 915 participants across the US. Additional qualitative insights were gleaned from a series of focus groups and 1-1 interviews.

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