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A mere fifth of pay-TV subs order VOD, claims report

A startlingly low proportion of pay-TV subscribers in North America are paying to use their service provider’s video-on-demand library, according to a new study from Digitalsmiths.

The survey was conducted with 2,000 pay-TV subs and found that just 22% of them order at least one VOD movie per month, compared to 50% of them using an over-the-top (OTT) service such as Netflix.

Reasons cited for this disparity in usage include over half (63%) saying that it is cheaper to use OTT services rather than pay-TV providers’ own VOD offerings, while 43% identify greater convenience, 33% say that OTT services have a better selection, and 28% state that it is easier to find what you are looking for.

A majority (61%) of respondents don’t even use their pay-TV provider’s VOD search function, with 57% saying they would use it if it were easier to navigate, and 87% said that their pay-TV provider doesn’t recommend TV shows or movies to them.

Despite all this however, the study did find that more than 81% of respondents describe themselves as either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the value they receive from their pay-TV provider.

Editor’s view: This is all grist for the mill of North America’s pay-TV operators: issues clearly linger regarding the user interface of many operators’ VOD services, and there appears to be a communication issue at stake here too.

Netflix, Hulu Premium et al are by no means the only VOD providers to be recommending new titles to watch to their customers – and the statistic about nearly 90% of pay-TV subscribers not being fed recommendations seems unlikely to be true – but one thing the OTT players are clearly doing better is pushing relevant content to their customers in a compelling way.

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