TiVo: “Avid sports viewers prefer streaming”

TiVo has released the 20th edition of its quarterly Video Trends Report, covering key topics across pay-TV, OTT, TV network apps, streaming devices, smart home devices and content discovery. Based on a survey of more than 3,300 consumers, TiVo’s Q4 2017 Online Video and Pay-TV Trends Report illuminates many insights, including:

  1. How the Price of Pay-TV Affects Consumers – The high cost of cable/satellite service continues to be a prominent topic when surveying respondents on their pay-TV service. Unsurprisingly, price is the top reason cord-cutters cancelled pay-TV service, and the number one reason for dissatisfaction among pay-TV subscribers. While lowering prices isn’t an option, the report highlights other ways pay-TV providers can demonstrate the value of their offerings, as well as differentiate themselves from vMVPDs and their skinny bundle offerings. A few highlights include:
  • Cord-Cutters’ Perception – For those who cut pay-TV service, 86.7 per cent of these respondents cancelled service because of its high price. This price dissatisfaction increased 6.6 per cent y/y, and is at its highest rate since the start of the question in Q3 2016.
  • Pay-TV Subscribers’ Perception – For respondents who were unsatisfied with their pay-TV service, 83.1 per cent chose, “Too expensive/Increasing fees for cable/satellite services.”
  • Pressure from À La Carte – vMVPDs seem to have found the pricing sweet spot for entry-level offerings. The average price US respondents want to pay for a package of self-selected channels is $35.87 per month, which is in line with the actual prices of DirecTV NOW, Sling TV and YouTube TV.
  1. Are Smart Speakers and Streaming Device Manufacturers The Real Threat to Pay-TV? – Respondents’ ownership of both smart speakers and streaming devices is at an all-time high. While smart speaker manufacturers haven’t yet focused on seamlessly integrating live TV into their product, TiVo is confident this functionality is on the horizon. Pay-TV providers must prepare for the battle over the living room. The fight begins when a user asks a smart speaker to “find me a romantic comedy” or presents a similar query—will the smart speaker recommend its own manufacturer’s content, or will it suggest the user’s pay-TV content?

According to Q4 2017 survey results, the Amazon Echo and Dot together have 57 per cent market share. Also, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, with 14 per cent market share, experienced the greatest percentage growth in the streaming device category with increases of 5 percentage points q/q and 5.8 points y/y. Pair this with the fact that 63.9 per cent of all smart speakers are in respondents’ living rooms, and it becomes evident that pay-TV providers who don’t quickly lay claim to voice-enabled video experiences risk losing their connection with the viewer and their presence in the living room.

  1. The Rise of Sports Streaming—Plus, Demographic Insights into Sports Viewers – As 2017 progressed, sports streaming grew in popularity, and 28.2 per cent of respondents streamed a sporting event. Social media sites (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), content distributors (such as Amazon), and even sports leagues (e.g., NBA, UFC) drew thousands—and in some cases millions—of viewers. According to respondents, the most popular sites for streaming sports are Facebook, Amazon and NFL.com.

To learn more about sports viewers, TiVo analysed these respondents, and discovered that those who watch sports four hours or more a day are more likely than those who watch zero to two hours a day to do the following:

  • 77.9 per cent more likely to select “always” frustrated when trying to find sports content.
  • 111.9 per cent more likely to stream sports online.
  • 191.1 per cent more likely to check sports scores on a smart speaker.

Additionally, respondents who watch sports two to four hours a day are more likely than those who watch zero to two hours a day to do the following:

  • 96.2 per cent more likely to watch sports via online streaming.
  • 148.2 per cent more likely to check sports scores on a smart speaker.

What does this mean for the once stagnant, but now rapidly-changing, sports content landscape? For one, broadcast networks should be concerned that the data smart speaker manufacturers can now gather from people checking sports scores as well as the targeted marketing it enables.

  1. The Impact of Content Discovery Functionality on Viewer Satisfaction and Engagement – TiVo has always believed that offering high-quality content discovery functionality can positively affect viewer engagement, but pay-TV providers have always scored considerably lower than SVoD providers regarding respondents’ sentiment on easily finding something to watch. This quarter’s results showed the largest positive jump in respondents’ sentiments toward their ability to find something to watch on their pay-TV service. With the many competing offerings available today, this is positive news for pay-TV providers.
  • Pay-TV Content Discovery: 69.7 per cent of respondents feel it is easy to find something to watch through their pay-TV service, and these overall satisfaction levels increased 11.1 percentage points y/y and 11.9 points over two years.
  • SVoD Content Discovery: 85 per cent of respondents are pleased with their ability to find something to watch on their SV0D service, an increase of 3.8 percentage points y/y and 5 points over two years.

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