Over-the-top (OTT) television has been a big topic for a long time. It's shaping a lot of the entertainment landscape and turning companies like Netflix into content producers as well as content exhibitors. But a new report from Paywizard suggests that, while OTT may be popular this Christmas, it may not be by next Christmas.
The Paywizard report pointed out an unexpected dichotomy; while 52 percent of viewers were planning to turn to an OTT service during the holiday season, around 45 percent of those planning to do so were also planning to cancel service within the next six months, some even planning to do so immediately.
One in four respondents in the study was already using an OTT service, and the information was drawn from a wide range of countries, including Australia, Brazil, Singapore and the United States. Add on to that another 27 percent planning to respond to a host of offers and trials, and there was plenty of interest. This interest didn't often last long, however, as 15 percent of subscribers were planning to cancel in January, and another 30 percent planning to cut out by June 2016.
Basically, as Paywizard's chief marketing officer Bhavesh Vaghela describes, OTT is offering some great deals, but it isn't offering sufficient reason to stick around. Key demographic groups aren't getting what's desired—Vaghela points to the over 55 market in particular—and the biggest group of OTT subscribers, the 24 – 35 working adults, just can't find enough worthwhile content. Vaghela recommends “a more personalized service” based on a better understanding of how customers view content. Since younger viewers prefer streaming, and many are planning to subscribe for Christmas, stepping up the service is a worthwhile venture.
But that’s easier said than done. Many of OTT's content problems come directly from the studios, which have a vested interest in maintaining the current system. Streaming has long been viewed with suspicion, as the possibility for piracy kicks in and users able to watch a movie any time have a lot less interest in buying a DVD or Blu-ray at full price. Viewers are proving this much out; 65 percent of subscribers choose a service based on how much material there is that holds an interest, and large numbers—69 percent of intended subscribers and 41 percent of current subscribers—would sign up for more than one service if the content was there.
It would be nice to see more content make its way to streaming services—I personally wouldn't mind seeing a little more of that lesser-known content from the 1980s or 1990s; it's almost impossible to find Perfect Strangers streaming anywhere, and that was a fairly big show—but that's the content owners' issue as much as it is the streaming services' issue. Still, the services won't get used without the content, and that's part of why so many streaming services are making content as well as showing it.