TV Everywhere consumer education still lagging, report says

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Most pay TV providers do offer TV everywhere, it’s just that less than half of all viewers are aware of it. (iStock/AndreyPopov)

Despite recent improvements in consumer awareness of authenticated multiscreen viewing opportunities, customer education regarding TV Everywhere is still lagging, according to Jonathan Hurd, director of AltmanVilandrie & Co., a strategy consulting firm that just released the results of a recently conducted survey on TV viewing habits.

The problem is hardly a rejection of TV. Cord cutters and "cord nevers" watch a lot of TV, and they’re increasingly watching longer-form content. What’s pertinent about that is that they are watching on laptops (home and away), smartphones (home and away), tablets (home and away) and in anyplace in the home lacking a cable box, regardless of the device.

Of course, most pay TV providers do offer TV everywhere, it’s just that less than half of all viewers are aware of it. The number is 48%, although that’s up from 35% in 2013.

“TV Everywhere, is a missed opportunity,” Hurd said. “Everybody in the industry would agree the awareness of this is lower than expected. We ask current subscribers if they’re aware of it; a lot of them aren’t. Of those who aren’t, they say they’re likely to use it. Half of all millennials say they would use TV everywhere if they had it—and they do!”

RELATED: Awareness of TV Everywhere hits 73% just in time for vMVPD revolution

He continued, “If there were greater awareness, it would appear that would mitigate cord cutting.”

The new survey is full of infonuggets that provide some illumination on some key questions about changing TV viewing behavior, but it is cautious about one of the more troubling questions, that of affordability.

The survey does ask, why cut the cord? And the answer for a great many people is (as it has been) affordability.

“Regardless of where current prices are for traditional pay TV, affordability is a challenge across all age ranges,” Hurd said. “It’s people who don’t have discretionary income. Our numbers bear it out when we ask questions about affordability.”

Any age-related skew in viewer reaction to affordability issues tends hinge on an understanding of streaming options and viewing platforms, Hurd explained. “Younger people tend to be more tech-savvy; it’s easier for them to explore alternatives. Whereas older people who have affordability as a concern tend to be less tech savvy.”

There’s a more intractable problem that hardly anybody has talked about since the former Time Warner Cable (now part of Spectrum) CEO Glen Britt died in 2014: income disparity. What if the result of the way we’re running the U.S. economy is that we’re growing the segment of the viewing population that simply does not have the discretionary income to afford pay TV? It’s an issue elided in the AltmanVilandrie survey report.