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In the past decade, the pay-TV landscape has undergone a radical transformation, propelled by the introduction of Netflix’s on-demand streaming service in 2007 and the critical mass adoption of streaming ever since. Today, 70 per cent of TV viewers 18 and over – and 90 per cent of 18-34 year-old viewers – stream at least some of the content they watch, according to Horowitz Research’s State of Pay TV, OTT & SVoD annual survey.
The introduction of Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV signal a new era of competition to traditional cable, satellite, and fibre optic TV providers. These new digital MVPDs (dMVPDs) offer what the on-demand streaming services do not: They are viable alternatives to traditional pay-TV, with the curation, choice, and control perks of streaming, plus the key benefits of traditional providers such as live TV and local broadcast. According to a first look at Horowitz’s upcoming study, State of dMVPDs, 29 per cent of TV content viewers express interest in subscribing to one of the new dMVPDs; 30 per cent among traditional pay-TV (cable, satellite, fibre) subscribers.
In the study, respondents are asked which features are most essential in making the decision to subscribe to a dMVPD. The list of top features include those associated with traditional pay TV providers, such as live TV, local broadcast channels, regional sports networks, DVR, and a variety of cable networks. Also considered essential are features that are often antithetical to traditional TV services: Not requiring a contract, not requiring additional hardware such as a dish or set top box, and having the ability to access your entire service on various devices simultaneously, both in and out of the home. Most important, however, is cost: 77 per cent of those interested in a dMVPD say that in order to consider the service, the overall cost will need to be lower than having a cable or satellite subscription.
At the recent NYC Cultural Insights Forum, Horowitz SVP of Insights and Strategy Adriana Waterston previewed these study findings and noted, “These new services are a game-changer because they introduce a new narrative, one that doesn’t pit people who are willing to pay for pay-TV against those who cord-cut. Instead, the new narrative is about those who choose to stay with a traditional provider against those who might choose to go with a new provider offering comparable services in a different way.”