TiVo: Consumers Want to Pay Less for Top Networks

Since the arrival of over-the-top skinny bundles, the price consumers are willing to pay for the top 20 channels has dropped, according to a new survey.

TiVo’s 4Q 2016 Video Trends Report found that U.S. respondents thought the ideal price for their 20 favorite channels was $28.87, down from $32.92 in the third quarter.

The price is lower than the $35 to $40 being charged by new virtual MVPDs such as Google or DirecTV Now, although those services offer more than 20 channels.

Cord-cutting continues to be an issue.

Related: YouTube TV Launch Marks Key Point for Pay TV

The share of consumers saying they cut cable or satellite service in the last 12 months was up 1.9% to 19.8% of those surveyed. The top reasons for cutting the cord were that service was too expensive, the use of a streaming service, or a willingness to rely on over-the-air channels.

The survey found that only 52% of consumers said they plan to stay with their current cable or satellite provider, as the number of people who said they planned to cut the cord, change providers, switch to streaming or just “maybe” make a change rose to 47.2%, up 2.3% from last quarter and 2.5% year over year.

Streaming video was more popular. The survey found that 63.8% use a subscription VOD service, up 8.4% from a year ago and up 18.5% over three years.

Netflix was the top service at 52.8%, followed by Amazon at 26.3% and Hulu at 11.8%. Other popular subscription services included HBO Go, YouTube Red, DirecTV Now, CBS All Access, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.

A possible a la carte system was popular with those surveyed, with 76.6% saying they would like to choose only the channels they want to watch. That’s up 3% from a year ago. The most popular channels were ABC, Discovery, CBS, History and NBC.

When asked which channels they’d include in a custom-made package, the most popular choices were ABC, CBS, Discovery, NBC, History, Fox, A&E, PBS, TNT, FX, HBO, AMC, TBS, National Geographic, USA, Food Network, Comedy Central, HGTV, ESPN and The Weather Channel.

While consumers appear to want to pay less for their subscriptions, the TV Everywhere features offered are becoming a bigger benefit.

The survey found that for the third straight quarter, awareness of TV Everywhere is up, rising to 49.1% of respondents, up 2% from the third quarter and 9.1% from a year ago.

Adoption and engagement of TV Everywhere was up also. The survey found that 30.9% of respondents accessed their pay-TV provider’s TV Everywhere app, up 2.8% from the prior quarter and up 9.4% from a year ago. And 61.5% of respondents said they use the TV Everywhere app on a weekly basis, up 3.1% sequentially and up 16.1 year over year.

Search is being used by 46.7% of TV Everywhere app users and recommendations are used by 27.5%.

As long as it was taking a survey, TiVo asked why viewers were watching less NFL programming.

The top three answers were: My schedule is busier this year, games are not as exciting this season and too many commercials.

TiVo said that 23% said "other," a high percentage. Among the other responses, politics related to teams and players was cited by 10.7% — apparently a reference to quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem as a protest.

TiVo said it surveyed more than 3,100 people in compiling its report.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.