Consumers Sour On Experience With Pay-TV, OTT Providers, Finds Survey

LONDON—Customers give satellite, cable and IPTV operators lower marks at every step in the journey with their pay-TV provider than consumers give online video providers like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, but OTT providers aren’t that much better, according to the results of new research from Paywizard.

“There is a perception in the TV market that OTT providers are performing much better than their traditional counterparts; however, this research clearly demonstrates that OTT providers are far from perfect and are, in fact, only just better in many key areas of the customer journey,” said Bhavesh Vaghela, chief executive of Paywizard.

The survey of more than 3,000 consumers in the United Kingdom, the United States and the Philippines examined decision moments–the key points where consumers interact with traditional pay-TV and OTT providers—to determine how they view a service. It found that three areas stand out as particularly negative among consumers with both traditional pay-TV providers and OTT services.

Twenty-six percent of respondents reported being dissatisfied with the experience of dealing with an inaccurate bill or other payment issue (29 percent among traditional pay-TV subscribers and 22 percent among OTT customers). Twenty-two percent said they were unhappy about their experience cancelling a subscription, and 21 percent reported being negative about their experience contacting customer service.

[Read: ‘Consistent Experience’ Is Key To Combining OTT, Linear TV]

OTT providers received higher marks in eight of 10 categories than pay-TV providers, including ease of sign up, content recommendation, billing interactions and facilitating service cancellation. Pay-TV providers received higher marks in two categories: contacting customer service (58 percent vs. 51 percent) and upgrading or downgrading their package (56 percent vs. 53 percent.)

Subscribing to a service was the part of the customer journey that was seen as most positive, with traditional pay-TV receiving favorable marks from 68 percent of respondents and pay-OTT getting a thumbs up from 77 percent.

The harshest scores came from consumers in the Philippines when it came to billing and payment issues with 42 percent giving traditional pay-TV providers negatives vs. 36 percent with OTT services –nearly double the figures for their counterparts in the United States and United Kingdom.

U.K. consumers reported being the most positive about traditional pay-TV operators, giving them higher marks than their OTT counterparts in four categories compared to U.S. customers, who gave them a higher grade in two categories, and Philippine subscribers, who reported greater satisfaction with pay-TV operators in no categories.

The findings also show both positives and negatives were generally more pronounced among younger consumers than older customers in the United States and United Kingdom, while there was far less divergence in age when it comes to these decision points among subscribers in the Philippines.

“We can see that there are slight variations between the markets we surveyed, but what is most clear is that the situation is broadly that same across the board. Traditional pay-TV providers have a lot of work to do to ensure a positive customer experience, and OTT services cannot take it for granted that their subscribers are happy at each point of consumer engagement,” said Vaghela.

The results of the survey are presented in a new Paywizard report, “Show The Love With Customer Experience,” which is available on the company’s website.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.