As more traditional content providers move toward offering stand-alone OTT subscription video on demand (SVoD) services, many industry pundits are predicting the demise of traditional television viewership and multichannel services, declaring that the era of a la carte is finally here. New data from Horowitz Research, however, indicates that these changes in the industry represent growth and opportunities for all players.
Horowitz recently surveyed more than 2,000 multiplatform viewers, defined as watching at least an hour of TV content a day and spending more than twenty percent of their viewing time streaming. Multiplatform viewers represent a third (31 per cent) of all TV content viewing households in the US and are key to understanding the recent and developing OTT changes in the media world. The survey explores the advantages of multichannel service, the disadvantages of watching only OTT, the programming genres viewers care most about, and the kinds of multichannel and OTT service packages multiplatform viewers—both multichannel and non-multichannel—would build for themselves given the wide variety of choices now available.
“Current SVoD providers, including Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, have transformed the landscape by providing the kind of on-demand user experience that traditional distributors have not yet fully delivered,” said Howard Horowitz, president of Horowitz Research. “These services are so good that it has led some—not most— to consider cord-cutting and relying on SVoD alone.”
According to the survey, one in five (22 per cent) multiplatform viewers report being likely to change their relationship with their content services, with 20 per cent of multiplatform viewers who have multichannel services saying they are likely to cord-cut and 25 per cent of multiplatform viewers who do not currently have or have never had multichannel service saying they are likely to start subscribing to multichannel service.
The overwhelming majority of multiplatform viewers who have both multichannel service and OTT SVoD services are not ready to give up easy access to broadcast programming, even when presented with the option of adding stand-alone, a la carte SVoD services like the new services offered by HBO, Showtime and CBS. Among multiplatform viewers who have multichannel service, 75 per cent rate access to broadcast networks as a top advantage of having multichannel service, and two-thirds (66 per cent) say that broadcast primetime dramas and/or comedies are essential. Conversely, among multiplatform viewers who do not have multichannel service, 38 per cent rate not having access to broadcast networks as a top disadvantage of being OTT-only, and half (50 per cent) say that broadcast primetime dramas and/or comedies are essential.
Though firmly anchored in in the multichannel environment, this study suggests that HBO, Showtime and CBS have potential as stand-alone OTT services: Overall, 14 per cent of multiplatform viewers would create and choose a package without multichannel service that includes at least one of these three new services. Among those who do not currently subscribe to a multichannel service, 12 per cent would add at least one of these three new services and remain cord-cutters. Among the 39 per cent of multichannel subscribers who would create and choose a package without multichannel service, 41 per cent would add at least one of these three new services.
“The demand for easy and total access to ‘live’ broadcast and premium cable content remains strong for the overwhelming majority of multichannel subscribers, including those who are currently enjoying the major OTT and SVoD services. That said, there is strong potential for stand-alone HBO, Showtime, CBS and other services among those who choose to cut the cord,” concludes Horowitz.