Cord-Cutters Reject Streaming Services with Too Many Ads

Cord-cutting has become a growing trend in the US, where consumers move away from an all-in-one cable service for piecemeal streaming services. However, growth shouldn’t be seen as guaranteed. IBM recently released a survey that points out the areas where users tend to get frustrated and quit the service. From their survey, 31% of participants had previously quit using a streaming service.

27 percent said too many ads would make them quit
-Source TechCrunch

Too many ads frustrate users and 27% of those who quit cited that as a reason. Users pay a fee to get away from the free, ad-supported tier and will understandably be frustrated if they don’t feel they’re getting their money’s worth. Some services, like Netflix and YouTube Red, remove ads in their monthly subscription. However, some still have a few ads. While a small number of ads may be okay, it’s best not to frustrate the customer.

Other big reasons include cost and content. Monthly services can be cheap relative to cable, but only if you subscribe to one. When you start paying for more it can be just as expensive. 42% of participants share their passwords with their family, and perhaps expanding family plans and family-billing could alleviate the costs one person has to pay.

Content is the issue that’s been getting a lot of attention. Netflix and Amazon have been producing original content in addition to licensing content from networks. YouTube Red has just purchased the rights to a TV show. With more services and choice, these companies are entering the content market while having to make sure their service runs smoothly.

Steady performance is important, as 17% quit because of technical reasons. If there’s too much buffering or delay in playing then the streaming service is definitely not providing the best experience and it may not be for that user. This is not a problem for those who use broadband and Ethernet connections, but your connection becomes flakier when you start relying on your Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Variable video compression, to properly playback video at the correct quality, is something that is important for services to look at.

This is important for expansion too as there are still many places with poor connections and no way to stream ultra-high definition videos. While 240p is not great by any means, it will likely be accepted by users more than the long wait for buffering.

For networks and streaming services, this survey is a great look into the habits of cord-cutters and why they may make certain decisions. Fewer ads, cheaper services, and more content seem to be at odds with one another. People want services to do more with less. The survey had 1007 participants, which isn’t a huge sample size, but it may expose trends that become more important in the coming years.

Cord-cutting is growing, but perhaps not equally. The market is gaining more competitors and consumers will have to make a choice about what what they pay for. They’ll do comparisons, read reviews, and freely switch if one isn’t good. The companies that stick around the longest will be those that provide the best experience for the user.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub ( Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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