Pay-TV subs ‘overwhelmed’ by channels, dissatisfied with service

By Jim O'Neill on Jun 20 2014 at 9:00 AM

Nearly one-in-four subscribers say they’re “dissatisfied” with their pay-TV provider and nearly 20% say they’ve either changed providers in the past three months or plan to change or cut services in the next six months, a new report says.

Digitalsmiths, in its Q1 2014 Video Trends report, said the dissatisfaction level was the highest it’s seen since launching the report in 2012.

The report also found that while 64% of respondents said they don’t subscribe to premium channels offered by their service provider, nearly half (49%) said they subscribe to at least one over-the-top video service.

Among customers who said they were dissatisfied with their pay-TV service, 72% cited rising subscription fees as the cause of their unhappiness, 42% cited rising broadband subscription coasts, 40% blamed poor customer service and more than a third said “bad channel selection.”

About 6% said of respondents said they had changed providers in the quarter, and another 7.5% said they would change providers in the next six months. Just more than 6% said they planned to either replace or supplement their service with OTT services.

Sixty percent of those surveyed said they currently pay at least $100 for their service, and 38% said they also buy Showtime and/or HBO. 

Only 8.5% added premium sports content (compared to 17.6% who said they cut their premium sports content buy).

Not surprisingly, more than 80% of viewers said they regularly watch 10 channels or fewer, a number that’s consistent with several other recent reports, and only slightly up over the past five quarters.

Digitalsmiths said 45% spend more than 10 minutes channel surfing or looking for something to watch and 30% said they were “overwhelmed” by the number of channels available to them.

Digitalsmiths, a TiVo company, surveyed more than 3,090 consumers, 18 years and older, in the first quarter of 2014.

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