OTT beating pay TV in customer experience, but only just

July 26, 2018
According to a survey from Paywizard, consumers give higher negative ratings to traditional cable, satellite and IPTV pay TV operators than ...

According to a survey from Paywizard, consumers give higher negative ratings to traditional cable, satellite and IPTV pay TV operators than over-the-top (OTT) video providers such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. However, the figures indicated that OTT services also struggle to keep customers happy.

The survey of more than 3,000 consumers across the UK, the United States and the Philippines indicated that, when it comes handling every major interaction a subscriber experiences when engaging with a pay TV service, consumers were more negative in their view of traditional pay TV operators than OTT providers. The top three interactions identified as the most negative by customers for both traditional and OTT services is a billing issue, with 26% of respondents unhappy about the way an inaccurate bill or payment problem was dealt with, followed by cancelling a subscription (22%) and contacting customer service (21%).

Respondents to the survey also gave OTT providers higher positive ratings in eight out of 10 categories - from making signup easy, to recommending content, to dealing with billing, to facilitating service cancellation. There were only two areas in which traditional operators performed better in consumer eyes than OTT rivals in terms of providing a positive experience: contacting customer service (58% vs. 51%) and upgrading/downgrading their package (56% to 53%).

Bhavesh Vaghela, Paywizard's chief executive, said: "There is a perception in the TV market that OTT providers are performing much better than their traditional counterparts; however, this research clearly demonstrates that OTT providers are far from perfect and are, in fact, only just better in many key areas of the customer journey."

Overall, joining a service was most frequently flagged as a positive experience by subscribers to both traditional pay TV (68%) and pay OTT (77%) services. Dealing with an inaccurate bill or a payment issue was identified by 29% of consumers with a traditional pay TV subscription and 22% of those taking an OTT service as the interaction most often seen as a negative experience.

Other findings indicated:

  • Consumers in the Philippines were especially harsh in their scoring of a billing or payment issue with 42% of traditional pay TV subscribers giving a negative rating and 36% of those with OTT services - nearly double the figures for the United States and UK.
  • UK consumers were the most favorable toward traditional pay TV operators, rating them more highly for positive experiences than OTT services in four categories, compared to two for the United States and none for the Philippines.
  • The scores - both positive and negative - of younger consumers were, in general, significantly more pronounced than those of older demographics for the United States and UK, but for the Philippines there was far less of a divergence between younger and older respondents.