The shift from linear TV to online streaming platforms is a hot topic across the globe, for both subscribers and video operators. Keeping up with the latest statistics amongst subscribers may lead one to assume that traditional pay-TV as a whole is dying out. Whether this is the case or not, the following blog aims to shed light on what the video delivery landscape looks like today and how video providers can leverage these changes to win with video subscribers.

The Role of the Pandemic in the Popularity of On-Demand Streaming

Although recent subscriber trends display a wide variety of consumer habits, for the most part, users tend to gravitate towards the feeling of convenience. This, combined with the growing need to have constant intake of new and unique content, has contributed majorly to the shift from traditional pay-TV in favor of online streaming.

In a recent Forbes article Tim Sims, Chief Revenue Officer at The Trade Desk, highlighted the role Covid-19 played in accelerated “cord-cutting,” a phenomenon that was already well underway. “It’s not because U.S consumers have fallen out of love with TV, but that there are now more convenient ways of consuming it,” he remarked.

Widespread lockdowns led to a boom for at home entertainments and streaming services saw subscriber numbers peak to an all-time high, years ahead of where they would otherwise have been.

Too Many Choices Leading to Loss of SVOD Subscribers

One the one hand, it could be argued that COVID played a role in igniting a spike in video streaming subscriptions as mentioned above. On the other hand, however, recent studies have shown trends to be reversed when it comes to choosing between streaming services and linear tv.

Throughout 2022, Netflix has lost more than 1 million subscribers, with shares tumbling more than 65% over the last 12 months. A recent Global Streaming Study showcased a trend of subscription fatigue, with 35% of people being likely to unsubscribe from a steaming service in the next 12 months. A BlueLabel survey found that 2 out of every 3 people surveyed have canceled at least 1 service in the last year.

The biggest driver? Most people reported cancelling because these services went unused, while the second most common reason to cancel was cost related. Another worthy statistic from the survey found that around 10% of people reported cancelling because of the high volume of transactions required to maintain several streaming subscriptions in one household.

The struggle of juggling too many services led to respondents reporting to have cancelled at least one service.

Merging Pay-TV and OTT for the Ultimate User Experience

This leads us to the question; how can video operators adapt to meet the need for instant gratification that audiences have today?

Whether traditional pay-TV providers are finding their own space into today’s growing streaming platform era or trying to adapt into being a more affordable option, it’s clear that a change in strategy is needed.

Streaming, once an exponentially growing market, is now weighed down by competition and struggling to retain subscribers. Linear video providers should look to take advantage of this.

Partnerships between traditional pay-TV providers and streaming platforms have been happening since 2015, with Netflix leading the pack, and the concept shows no sign of slowing down. A partnership between both parties brings strong benefits to both.

Amir Peled, head of OTT at Swisscom, a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland agrees with this sentiment. “(Pay-TV) providers have the infrastructure-networks, data centers, CRM systems billing relationships, customer care, and more that could be leveraged towards building a great customer experience around the content. Take for instance, streaming media subscriptions. Consumers are looking for easier ways to consolidate and manage their media subscription services, and (pay-TV) providers could offer such services,” Peled stated.

For linear video providers, this enables them to broaden their product offering to subscribers, while streaming services can gain new subscribers by pairing their content offering with broadband service providers.

Subscribers, on the other hand, can utilize these kinds of partnerships to experience a more streamlined user experience with direct carrier billing, which makes it so that they can pay for steaming services directly through their video provider.

Pay-TV providers of all sizes can utilize these partnerships to help subscribers consolidate their media subscriptions and stay relevant with people who prefer streaming their video content. While this does require strategy and investment to set up, many mutual benefits can come out of such arrangements.

One thing is clear….in a world of competing video platforms, the one that provides a better user experience to subscribers, is sure to last.

Written By: Kavya Vohra

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Kavya is a student at UBC, completing her major in the Bachelor of Media Studies. Currently, she is working at WISI America in the position of Marketing Co-op.