Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New PwC study on pay-TV's growing problem with content discovery: 62% of consumer say they often struggle to find something to watch and pay-TV services are not helping enough.

Brand new research from a PwC study shows how one of pay-TV's problems that is steadily getting worse - the struggle of content discovery for users and finding what to watch - is not properly being addressed by subscription television services.

With more and more television available to watch, pay-TV should be doing more and more different things - not less - to help people find and discover not just new content, but the content they're interested in watching.

Not a week goes by that I don't hear from angry DStv, StarSat and other pay-TV users who bitterly complain that they're not getting their monthly DStv magazine that is due to them.

There's constantly some or other rumour floating that someone or somebody isn't allowed or won't get a printed DStv magazine TV guide, something a paying subscriber is fully entitled to as part of the subscription fee.

I hear from people who pay for television who will tell and show how the electronic programme guide (EPG) from DStv and StarSat is not working, is out of date or simply wrong for some shows or channels.

I hear from subscribers who complain that online guides are wrong and not far enough ahead in times, that they don't have data that's expensive to waste on trying to search confusing sites and schedules online.

I hear often that promos and adverts for shows on TV doesn't contain the written info, times and dates so people can know what the show is that the clip is from, or when it's on or what channel.

I'm often told of mistakes on DStv Catch Up (and I see many, many constantly myself).

The existence of all of these things - together - are extremely important to help viewers to find and discover content they will enjoy watching and their importance cannot be underestimated.

According to the new study - obviously done under American consumers but clearly relevant for all similar and less sophisticated pay-TV markets - at least half of consumers (55%) look for new content to watch at least once per week, with 83% looking for something new to watch a few times per month according to PwC's new content discovery report.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers agree that they often struggle to find something to watch, despite there being many choices available to them. Consumers also say that it is much harder to find something to watch on TV than to read or listen to.

If after only a few minutes a consumer can't figure out what to watch, 1 in every 5 people will just give up and resort to rewatching something they've already seen. Which then likely leads to complaints about repeats.

Here's more alarming statistics: Consumers are begging to discover new, great content on their own. 87% of respondents said they regularly pick a TV show or movie to watch that they hadn't heard of previously.

Patience has dwindled. 74% of respondents know within a few seconds if they'll like a piece of content.

Shockingly, much of today's "quality" content goes undiscovered. 69% of respondents say they feel like they keep hearing about and seeing the same shows over and over again.

Consumers spend, on average, 42% of their time browsing through content because they don't know what they want to watch.

"Consumers are frustrated with the current content discovery process" the PwC research finds.

One plus point: While current pay-TV subscribers also agree that there's too much content available, they are more likely to enjoy (38%) the search for content and are less likely to be frustrated by it than consumers who only stream (23%)."

"Consumers also told us that the traditional channel guide is inherently effortless, making the search experience more relaxing - especially when someone is unsure of what to watch."

"What started as minor annoyance with traditional cable packages has morphed into consumer frustration with today’s ever-expanding video ecosystem," says the PwC study.

"Companies continue to create more content, introduce new distribution platforms, and fight for subscribers and attention, all the while creating more fragmentation and making it harder for the consumer to find something to watch."

"We've moved beyond search and recommendation to the need for personalized content that can help attract, retain, and satisfy the consumer," the PwC research notes. "Hence, the ability to adapt artificial intelligence (AI) and utilize data has become a driving concern for any company working with video."

"The best solutions will pair man with machine to help content publishers and providers stay
competitive and audiences dialed in to the content they care about most."

"Don't just tell me what, tell me why," the PwC study recommends. "Consumers are smart. They
know when they're being pushed content that is not in their best interest. Today's audience wants to understand the "why" behind the what."

"They are more likely to trust what you recommend if the suggestion comes with an explanation. Why does the show have a high rating? What are critics saying? How likely am I to enjoy this show? How did others like me rate it?"

37% of respondents say they don't want to waste their time on starting a new show they might not like, and they find personalized recommendations too risky. "Help consumers make the decision for themselves," says the PwC study.