The consumer’s demand for content is rapacious.  With additional screens and more ways to discover and choose what is being watched, the appetite is only going to increase. At the same time, the consumer—and by consequence the provider—is faced with a significant challenge as the current user experience is fragmented. The TV industry has become inundated with different user interfaces (UIs) on a device-by-device, service-by-service basis.

Consider this. The average user is confronted with a myriad of services when they switch on their device – from Netflix and linear broadcasting to VOD services and YouTube. All of this combines to create a labyrinth of menus across multiple apps and services. Users need to be able to switch between these services effortlessly with a simple, uncluttered and engaging interface that doesn't overwhelm them with options. At the same time, UIs also need to create a bridge between content silos – searching for one particular piece of content shouldn't entail accessing multiple apps.

Operators are defending revenues by embracing consumers’ love of SVOD, as the distinction between conventional pay TV and over the top (OTT) is blurring. However, assembling a one-size-fits-all strategy is no longer enough for consumers who expect to have their distinct needs met and who also desire a seamless content experience.

This is the case for the most valuable and fastest-growing type of consumer identified by Ampere Analysis and NAGRA as ‘Content Connoisseurs’ in the recent Television Tribes report. Content Connoisseurs comprise a quarter of the market, according to Ampere data, and are a growing segment. They are by far the biggest spenders, parting with nearly $70 a month on all services from their main TV provider.

Anthony Smith-Chaigneau
Senior Director, Product Marketing, NAGRA

This ‘Tribe’ has demanding expectations, consuming a wide range of content from multiple providers, on the latest devices. They want to stack their own service, mixing and matching.

Get the offer wrong, and they are far more likely to churn than any other segment.

The opportunity for operators is to build a next-generation bundle and platform for Content Connoisseurs so they don’t have to do the hard work themselves. 

The reality, however, is more complex still. In its report, Ampere focuses on another key group, a sport-loving high-spending category dubbed the TV Traditionalist.

With this Tribe, scheduled viewing watched live or via a DVR remains the dominant mode. Indeed, scheduled linear TV on the main TV set still accounts for 60 percent of all self-reported viewing hours, rising to 75 percent for these TV Traditionalists.

Meeting the needs of traditional viewers at the same time as the myriad demands of fickle, higher-value consumers means the content-format-device permutations and challenges soon become immense.

The TV industry needs to work towards an integrated user experience that seamlessly encompasses traditional scheduled TV alongside apps and other services like catch-up TV. NAGRA’s own research shows customers desperately want simplification and to access all their content in one place on one device, with one remote control, with the option to break-away on mobile devices, when they feel like.

The imperative is clear. Consumers are faced with a dizzying assortment of apps delivered over multiple hardware solutions. Providers must combat this with a cross-platform, dynamic UI with different content sources built in that creates a bridge between content silos and streamlines what otherwise becomes a frustrating process.

The ideal system would benefit from a mix of old and new techniques. It would add the intelligence of algorithms without becoming a slave to their suggestions, as well as bringing in voice elements that alleviate the need to use a keyboard. All of this would engage with the user on an emotional – not just a logical – level. And it would enable consumers to easily navigate the full range of exciting content available.

For the occasions when users don't want to search for themselves, the service needs to be personalized with recommendations based on previous content they enjoyed, along with any other data the provider can use intelligently. This is key to removing stress from the user experience.

This is pay-TV for the post-OTT era.