• Survey: Under 2% of Pay-TV Subscribers Are Using Their Providers' Tablet Video Apps

    Note: I'm pleased to post the latest from Stewart Schley, VideoNuze's newest contributor.

    Survey: Under 2% of Pay-TV Subscribers Are Using Their Providers' Tablet Video Apps

    by Stewart Schley

    Digitalsmiths’ Q1 2013 Video Discovery Trends Report is out, and one of the key findings is that less than 2% of pay-TV subscribers use their providers' tablet video apps. The online survey of 1,800-plus adults shows how far the pay-TV industry has to go before their tablet video apps influence TV watching.

    Of the roughly one-third of respondents who said they have tablets, 60% said they haven’t downloaded their pay-TV provider’s app, and another 14% aren’t aware such an app even is available. Of the 26% of tablet owners who have downloaded pay-TV provider's apps, only 18% said they actually use them. That means for every 100 pay-TV subscribers, under 2% of them ever fire up their provider's video app.

    But pay-TV providers can take solace in a related finding: Nobody else appears to be doing much better. In fact, the percentage of tablet owners who have downloaded a pay-TV provider app is significantly higher than the percentage that have installed free video apps from ABC (11.9%), Watch ESPN (8.6%), Hulu (7.8%) or any of the other TV network apps Digitalsmiths tracks.

    Digitalsmiths CEO Ben Weinberger said a closer look at the gap between video app availability and usage shows age is one factor, with older tablet owners less likely to watch video at all on their portable devices. He also said there’s clearly work to be done in marketing and promoting tablet applications and in encouraging more regular usage.

    The survey also shows that pay-TV providers are ceding share to competitive VOD aggregators like Amazon and Apple’s iTunes: 39% of respondents pay third-party providers like Amazon or Netflix for on-demand video content, while 79% said they don’t buy VOD from their pay-TV provider. The main reasons: 42% said because alternatives are cheaper, 38% because they're more convenient, and 25% because they offer a better selection.

    Digitalsmiths' goal is to help improve pay-TV/VOD usage by providing personalized content identification and recommendations that make it easier to find appealing TV shows and movies, and to broaden the number of channels viewers commonly tune to. The question for pay-TV providers, though, is whether a new generation of TV viewers already has become accustomed to going elsewhere for VOD content on tablets and other screens – and whether providers can win them back.

    (Note: Digitalsmiths is a VideoNuze sponsor)

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