Recent surveys of cable users have shown that the demographic is quickly aging. Half of cable users surveyed in one report were at least 60 years old, while over a quarter of respondents aged 18 to 29 preferred streaming services over cable TV. More troubling was that 60% of those surveyed who used a combination of cable or satellite and streaming services responded that they planned to drop their cable or satellite TV within the year.
How do we reverse this exodus of cable and satellite users?
What’s causing younger cable and satellite users to seek another means of entertainment? There’s quite a bit to learn from streaming services, which have stolen the spotlight in recent years. Notably, they generally have exceptional digital platforms designed to help users browse for entertainment according to genre, topic, cast, and more. In addition, algorithms track, analyze, and utilize data about user preferences to keep them on the platform longer, watching more, and viewing advertisements. While cable and satellite TV offer preset channels and air shows at set times, streaming allows users to watch according to their preferences and desires immediately from any device.
In addition to user experience while streaming, streaming services also offer carefree billing – a long-lived point of contention for many cable users. For years, cable users have dealt with complicated bills, including device leases, prorations, overage charges, and more. For streamers, an automatically paid bill every month includes one predictable (and often perceived as more affordable) subscription charge, relieving customers from overcomplicated and confusing bills. Even if billing must remain complicated in the sense of line items, a digital user-friendly interface for customers to review and understand their bills, as well as see value and other service offerings, is a huge improvement.
Time is of the essence
While streaming services were able to initially disrupt the cable and satellite landscape with low prices, that draw is slowly fading with inflating prices. The rise in pricing has much to do with the need to produce original content as networks begin pulling licenses to exclusively use content on their own platforms, like Peacock taking back ownership of The Office, and streaming services like Netflix needing new ways to reaccelerate growth. Overall, many of the challenges that cable TV faced years ago are finally hitting streaming services as well, and these streaming platforms are realizing they ironically must become more like cable to survive.
By learning from the strengths and weaknesses of the streaming service space, cable, and satellite TV companies can add value to their services and raise customer retention rates. Improved interface design for both viewing entertainment and managing accounts will create a user-friendly experience that keeps customers coming back. Intelligent utilization of customer data can help assess the potential of new products and base network capacity and offerings on value. Not to mention, high-quality customer service and simplified account and billing support can help companies regain the trust and loyalty of life-long and new cable users.
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