Advanced Television

Research: Cabsat cos out of touch with consumer demand

April 14, 2016

US consumers overwhelmingly rate cable as the most unfavourable option for TV viewing. Mohu, creator of indoor HDTV antennas, has published the results of a nationwide favourability poll, indicating high consumer discontent with the state of access to TV.

Among the 1,236 of consumers surveyed on their favourability toward cable, satellite and streaming TV services, half have an unfavourable opinion of cable TV companies and 38 per cent view satellite TV companies unfavourably. Over-the-air (OTA) and over the top (OTT) services are the most favourable TV viewing options, with 44 per cent having a favourable attitude toward using an antenna to watch TV, and OTT streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, receiving a 52 per cent favourability rating.

To put the favourability findings in context, the respondents were also asked about favourability toward Congress and cockroaches. Cable and satellite TV providers aren’t quite as disliked in comparison as 91 per cent of respondents have an unfavourable view on cockroaches and 72 per cent have a negative view of Congress.

While more than half of consumers (51 per cent) admit that cable is the main way they watch TV at home, the majority (54 per cent) have considered cutting the cord to get rid of cable or satellite. Pricing is a leading indicator driving consumer unaffordability toward cable and satellite services with nearly half (48 per cent) paying more than $100 a month. In addition to pricing, the majority of consumers (40 per cent) admitted that the main reason they have not got rid of their at-home cable service is because their cable is bundled with their Internet or phone service, indicating that most would-be cord cutters feel trapped by cable bundles.

“With such an unfavourable view toward cable and satellite companies, it’s clear that cable and satellite companies are out of touch with consumer demand,” said Mohu CEO Mark Buff. “Americans are dissatisfied with cable and its high cost of viewing. This is a far cry from delivering a service that fits the needs of today’s savvy, digitally-oriented consumers.”

Additional survey findings also revealed:

•    Consumers aren’t keeping cable because they want more channel choices. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of consumers watch 10 channels or less in a given week, while an additional 16 per cent watch between 10 and 20 channels in a week. In fact, less than 25 per cent (21 per cent) strongly believe having access to hundreds of channels is a good thing for the American society.
•    Consumers believe in free access to over-the-air TV. Eighty-nine per cent of consumers agree that access to free, over-the-air TV is important, with nearly 75 per cent strongly agreeing.
•    Negative feelings toward cable and satellite could be one of the only things Democrats and Republicans agree on. The poll compared presidential votes in 2012 alongside feelings of cable and satellite companies. Of those who voted for Obama in 2012, 36 per cent have a favourable opinion of cable companies, fairly comparable to those who voted for Romney giving cable a 23 per cent favourability rating.

“In today’s polarised environment, it’s rare to see Americans agree on anything – but this poll shows broad agreement across every demographic category and political affiliation – people are fed up with being locked into expensive cable TV packages and are looking for alternatives, both to save money and increase access to the entertainment content they desire,” said Jim Williams, a polling analyst at Public Policy Polling.

“Consumers now have many TV viewing options, and we expect many more consumers will flee cable and satellite TV subscriptions in favour of OTA and OTT options,” said Buff. “Since cord cutting is a reality for millions of Americans, we’re now seeing a David versus Goliath type battle between companies who are standing up to cable and fighting to break down the traditional walls of paid TV and locked set-top boxes for consumers. These companies are not only creating huge momentum for cord cutting, but also driving significant innovation within the TV industry and real change for consumers.”

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Cable, Consumer Behaviour, OTT, Pay TV, Research