Pay TV subs willing to pay more for 'outstanding experience,' study says

The first reaction to Amdocs' independent research that says North American TV viewers will pay more for better service that includes more features is "Duh, of course!" The study found that cable operators can outplay the OTT competition by "providing one service that enables subscribers to search, discover and consume their video content from both MSO and OTT sources."

The second reaction is to question when, or even if, many MSOs will take the steps their subscribers seem to be seeking. Some MSOs such as Atlantic Broadband, Grande and RCN, who all integrated Netflix into their programming lineups, have taken steps in this direction. Others, such as Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and AT&T (NYSE: T) have resisted and taken steps to add their own features that may or may not satisfy their customers' demands.

The researchers polled almost 750 consumers who use pay TV and/or OTT services in North America and reported that 76 percent who've already cut or shaved their cable cord would reconsider "if they were given one service that aggregates all video content." Some 66 percent said they would "prefer" this service and 40 percent would be willing to pay more for the privilege.

"Customers are prepared to pay up to 10 percent more for outstanding experience in the areas of content (62 percent), multi-screen provisioning (44 percent) user interface (30 percent) and customer service, (25 percent)," an Amdocs press release said.

A bit more menacing, but not surprising, is the finding that half of the polled consumers said they would like to pay only for the channels or content they want (a.k.a., a la carte programming that breaks traditional programming bundles); 19 percent want a one-size-fits-all package and 31 percent would like a one-size-fits-all package that includes other communications services.

"MSOs have some clear strengths that can be leveraged both in terms of customer experience and the actual viewing experience," Nizar Assanie, vice president of IE Market Research, the company that conducted the study for Amdocs, said in the press release. "By understanding consumer preferences for every aspect of the customer experience--from selling and billing to support and consumption--MSOs can leverage their strengths and emerging services to retain their customers and drive growth."

Contrary to doomsayers who claim the cable business will be destroyed by OTT, Assanie said that "people are looking towards their MSOs to be the single source of their video and entertainment consumption."

In other news, the need to feed an increased array of personalized services is creating a cottage industry for "consumer-facing virtual video platform" vendors, according to a study by Research and Markets.

"Enterprises, IPTV/OTT operators, TV Everywhere programmers, publishers, brands, businesses and eCommerce websites collectively are embracing or bolstering virtual video initiatives illustrating the backdrop to market expansion," the research firm said in a press release summarizing its report "Virtual Video Platforms and Workflow Technologies Review 2014-2016."

The report's conclusion is that "video deployment complexities necessitate end-to-end solutions or existing systems integration expertise" and companies with virtual video platforms have an early lead in delivering.

For more:
- Amdocs has this press release
- Research and Markets has this press release

Related articles:
Despite multiple screen options, TV remains preferred streaming device
Netflix added to TiVo set-tops at Atlantic Broadband, Grande, RCN
Ice dam breaks: AOL, Amazon, Dish, AT&T, TWC spill into online video
Virtual MVPD race heats up as Dish Network, TWC dive into OTT streaming

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