Do you remember the days when color bar test patterns were used to communicate to viewers that no program was currently available on the TV set?
If you are over the age of 25, then you probably still remember this. But in today’s multiscreen, connected world, the concept of “no program available” is long gone, along with the dominance of traditional TV providers who once commanded a captive audience around one main screen.
While TV providers still have a competitive advantage in terms of content, with live channels and live sports, in particular, being the crown jewel, watching TV has changed so dramatically over the last few years that the throne is up for grabs. Just providing content is not enough to fulfill the demands of television viewers anymore, and traditional PayTV providers are losing subscriptions. Wall Street research firmPacific Crest has estimated that the number of households with cable has fallen 10 percent in the past five years, while Netflix has seen the number of households with the service nearly double, to 35 percent from 18 percent, since the third quarter of 2011.
The Millennial Generation, while still partially reliant on PayTV subscriptions, has created viewing habits that are at the high end of multi-tasking. According to a recentAccenture report, 87 percent of consumers use a second-screen device at the same time as watching TV. Television viewers are engaged in selective show watching while surfing the internet, chatting with friends, gaming, and more. One of the reasons for this shift in viewing habits is that tablets and smartphones offer an enhanced user experience with advanced contextual and personalization capabilities that are evolving much faster than the TV experience today.
Considering this change in habits and the disruption the mobile industry went through in the past years, it is unlikely TV providers can count on their content offering being enough to sustain long-term success. They must pinpoint the reasons subscribers are leaving, and begin offering those capabilities. For television viewers today, it is all about the user experience, personalization, contextual enrichment, and control, similar to what they have on their personal devices.
The era of “no program available” or even “which show is playing now” is way behind us. We are in the midst of an era dominated by viewers who expect their TV watching experience to be the same as their smartphone or tablet experience. They expect to watch what they want — anytime, anywhere — and they want to have multiple experiences at the same time, such as getting data about a show and interacting with their friends while the show is playing. PayTV providers can leverage their current content and subscriber base and fight back by adding personalization, contextual enrichment, social capabilities, and control to create a differentiated TV experience.
By deploying Comigo’s unique multiscreen TV solution, which provides personal, advanced social capabilities and ensures viewer engagement on every screen, including TV sets, smartphones, and tablets, TV providers can recapture the throne.
Until they do this, the “no program available” may become a reality for the providers, not the viewers.