Consumers Love TV's Digital Transformation

Consumers are enjoying the transformation of television content to digital platforms and are looking forward to accessing premium cable channels on an a la carte basis.

That’s not necessarily a mind-blowing concept, but a new Hub Television Research study, “The New TV Experience,” adds more credence to what most industry observers know and what some fear.
More than 60% of consumers say the addition of online TV has been a positive change to the overall television viewing experience, while 70% of viewers prefer the experience of watching TV today compared to the old days of yesteryear, when we could only watch our favorite shows by sitting down in front of the boob tube with our popcorn and remote control.

Further, nearly three-fourths of consumers surveyed said they’ve watched TV shows or movies online in the past six months.

More disconcerting for the cable industry, 64% said they would be interested in subscribing to premium channels over the Internet without a pay TV subscription, while 43% say the unbundling of channels would be one of their “most wanted” TV features in the future.

Millennials are very interested in accessing content without a pay TV subscription, which bodes well for HBOGo and other planned OTT services from Showtime and Nickelodeon.
Millennials also love binge viewing, with 85% of young viewers saying they’ve watched three or more episodes of a program in one sitting, while 74% watch some or all of a season’s episodes of a show in a short period of time, according to the survey.

The silver lining for cable is that despite the significant viewing of online video content, 89% of all viewers still have cable or satellite subscriptions — including 86% of millennials, who are more apt to cord cut. Only 32% would cut back on their existing cable or satellite subscription. Further, only 13% said they would drop their cable service if they could get HBO, Showtime or Starz online without a cable subscription.

Hub Research’s The New TV Experience report reveals a lot of what most industry observers have already concluded about consumer’s changing TV habits. The question for the industry now is how to best adjust to the changing tide.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.