30 January 2017

Could customer service be the saving grace for pay TV?

Television is breaking free from the confines of the living room. Viewers can now watch TV on a number of small screen, connected devices and stream content through OTT platforms. Pay TV popularity is being displaced by these new technologies – can it ever regain market dominance?


“Pay TV subscriptions have dropped each year since 2014, falling to 81 per cent of US broadband households in Q3 2016,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates.


With the TV market evolving and becoming increasingly saturated with different ways to view content, pay TV operators must change the way they approach potential customers. Operators can no longer rely on the strength of their content offering to maintain subscriber loyalty.


A recent survey from subscription, billing and CRM specialist Paywizard – involving 6,200 customers – revealed 24 per cent had cancelled a digital pay TV service in the previous 12 months, citing poor customer experience as the cause. While 84 per cent admitted they would terminate a relationship with a TV provider if service and support were lacking and the company seemed out of touch with their needs. On the other hand, the survey also revealed that 46 per cent of consumers have retained a digital pay TV subscription they might otherwise have cancelled because of positive customer experience. Customer service is key – but does it matter to everyone?


The findings show that younger consumers place great value on customer experience, as 57 per cent under age 35 say this has been a factor in keeping a service over the past year.


While content and cost are often cited as the influential elements for pay TV uptake or cancelation, customer experience has emerged as a major driver. Relying on a decent content offering is not enough. With industry projections indicating roughly a billion pay TV subscriptions are up for grabs this year – and billions in revenue are on the line – it is clear from the research that pay TV operators today ignore customer experience at their peril.

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