MarketCast: Consumers Want A La Carte Programming


LOS ANGELES: A new study from research firm MarketCast finds that American TV viewers 18 to 49 are looking to maximize control, minimize cost and streamline the TV viewing and subscription experience.

The study, TV Re-Packaged: How Viewers See the Future of the Medium, finds that a la carte TV packages are in high demand. When viewers are thinking about the ideal package of services, a la carte programming is the most desired feature, second only to low cost. Just over half of those who don't subscribe to a traditional wired TV service say that the main reason they cut the cord is that they no longer wanted to pay for channels they don't watch. However, their biggest frustration with Internet-based services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon is the hassle of maintaining multiple subscriptions. The idea of paying multiple bills is the number one reason why cord-connected consumers stick with their existing services.

For 82 percent of viewers, live sports does not feature prominently in their ideal TV package. Only 18 percent of TV viewers value live sports access more than they do other features. For this group, however, sports trumps everything else, even the desire to pay a low monthly subscription cost.

TV Anytime is nearly twice as important as TV Anywhere, according to the survey. The idea of making TV more mobile is likely to be a more attractive proposition when positioned as time shifting rather than place shifting.

“What started out as a study about cord-cutting led us down a journey into evolving consumer preferences and the relationship viewers have with their TV service providers,” said Henry Shapiro, MarketCast's CEO. “All of these dynamics are complicated by the availability of programming choices and consumption mechanisms that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Consumers want to have their cake and eat it too. But they also want that cake to be low cost and to have no calories.”

“There is an air of inevitability about cord-cutting among TV viewers,” said MarketCast senior director and study author Chris Rethore. “Even among Cord Keepers—those most dedicated to the television status quo—there is a clear expectation that in just a few years, those who subscribe to traditional television service as we know it today will be in the minority.”