‘Cord cutting’ is the industry challenge many pay TV operators grapple with, but ‘cord confusion’ may be the issue that offers them a new opportunity. The huge array of TV and video services available these days baffles many consumers, as they are increasingly compelled to mix and match services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu and devices ranging from standard customer premise equipment to streaming players such as Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV.
Hub Entertainment Research released a study earlier this year that revealed escalating consumer frustration with the explosive growth in TV choices: only 22% said the increasing number of TV services now available makes it “easy to choose what’s best for me” – down from 33% in 2017. ‘Cord confusion’ is clearly a rising trend.
The opportunity for pay TV operators is to take advantage of this ‘cord confusion’ by providing a single platform that will build loyalty among existing subscribers, bring in new consumers and even win back lapsed customers. The Hub research indicates the time is right: among respondents with a preference, more than twice as many would rather access all their TV and video content from a single provider (69%) than through range of sources (31%) – making it crystal clear that consumers long for simplicity when it comes to choosing and managing their entertainment choices.
Indeed, consumers face more choice than ever, with the amount of video content at their fingertips increasing rapidly as new online on-demand services continue to transform the media landscape. It seems that every week a new over-the-top (OTT) pay TV service is being launched: in October Deutsche Telekom unveiled its new online TV offering, while Apple and WarnerMedia are the latest global players planning to join impending OTT insurgent Disney in 2019 – following ESPN+, which launched in April. The trouble for most consumers is it’s all just too much. Their tolerance for the confusing array of options available is being sorely tested.
So how should operators respond to all this ‘cord confusion’? More and more are talking about whether Android TV is the way to offer the TV simplicity – but also the rich content experience – that consumers want. While audiences may increasingly demand access to all the new content coming online, they also expect the ease and convenience of a modern television experience – with the advanced features that entails. Solutions built around Android TV devices can be the short and cost-effective route for operators looking to provide the one-stop solution their customer base wants.
For many operators, deploying managed devices powered by Android TV offers a straightforward route to ensuring their customers are able to experience next-generation TV services – especially those looking to avoid investing in their own end-to-end video delivery platform. Many are now actively considering this option and looking at devices that can be configured with enabling features such as: preloaded streaming services such as YouTube TV and Sling TV; access to the Google Play store with more than 150 premium OTT video services; and pre-packaged advanced user experience functions such as voice control, search and content recommendations
Finding an operator-ready solution with a full management suite of service assurance tools can also provide critical benefits. Android-powered solutions with the right software support can give operators insight into how their assets are being consumed and by whom – this usage data is critical to guiding future investment decisions and service offerings. The result is additional support to the subscriber by improving service delivery, while at the same time boosting customer satisfaction – all at a level of investment that makes sense for operators of all types and sizes.
Pay TV operators will have a renewed incentive to invest in and expand their broadband infrastructure as net neutrality is coming to an end. This type of managed Android TV solution enables operators to develop flexible commercial models that help control costs and provide a simple commercial proposition to the subscriber. The subscriber can benefit from the lower initial cost of devices and extend the relationship with an ongoing service fee. At the same time, it also drives broadband premium level upgrades to improve average revenue per user – and it gives operators increased flexibility in terms of technology and business modelling. Simply put, it places the operator in control.