Parks: UI tops recommendations as key SVOD feature for consumers

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The study also found that one-fifth of households that have canceled an OTT video subscription said an inability to find something to watch as a factor. (Unsplash)

Consumers have had years to poke around top streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu, and have decided the user interface (UI) is more important than recommendations.

That’s according to a new study from research firm Parks Associates, which found that 70% of U.S. broadband households with an SVOD consider its user interface to be good, with 48% rating it "very good.” The firm’s analysis of consumer responses found that quality of the UI and the ease of finding content are the most likely factors to drive willingness to recommend a video service.

"User interfaces are a key factor driving satisfaction for OTT services, and Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon – the big three in OTT streaming – have largely set the standard for content navigation and ease of use," said Kristen Hanich, senior analyst at Parks Associates, in a statement. "Other services have had to follow similar structures established by these three, but as new OTT services launch with greater and greater expectations, innovations in UIs could be an even greater differentiator contributing to their success or failure."

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The study also found that one-fifth of households that have canceled an OTT video subscription said an inability to find something to watch as a factor.

"Consumers are interested in finding particular shows or genres of content and have less interest in browsing by channel," Hanich said.

Parks’ data about what consumers want most out of subscription streaming services comes along shortly after another study from the firm that suggested subscription services now account for an overwhelming percentage of what U.S. consumers spend on internet TV and movies.

The firm said that subscriptions now account for nearly 86% of total spending, up from about 50% of total online video spending in 2012. This percentage is likely to trend up in the near future as new streaming services from Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal launch.

"The new services launching over the next several months are taking different approaches as they enter a crowded OTT market," said Brett Sappington, senior research director and principal analyst at Parks Associates, in a statement. "While the U.S. market is important for Disney, the company will ultimately measure the success of its Disney+ service on a global scale. AT&T likely sees its AT&T TV offering as the evolution of its core pay-TV business rather than as an extension of its vMVPD efforts. The Frndly TV is a niche play, targeting a specific group of consumers with a low price and family-friendly content."