​According to a new quarterly report released by Digitalsmiths, pay-TV operators have way more to worry about than just cutting the cord (or cord trimming or all the other cord phrases we’ve heard in the last few years). Now pay-TV services are worried about those customers who have begun “cord cheating.”

Cord cheating, according to Digitalsmiths’ Q2 2013 Video Discovery Trends Report, is a growing trend among consumers who look elsewhere to find on-demand content instead of using pay-TV services. Pay-TV companies feel cheated by customers leaving their service to get similar on-demand programming through Web or OTT services. With more and more consumers investing in more than just one TV service—using pay TV for linear content but supplementing with streaming services, for example—pay-TV companies are worried how much longer they have until customers narrow down their choices to other services alone.

According to the report released this week, 4.3% of survey respondents said that they plan to cut their cable/satellite services in the next six months, with another 6.1% plan to change their current services. More than 61% plan to stay with their current providers. And when it comes to linear TV, which is pay-TV services’ bread and butter, TV viewers aren’t watching any more live TV content. The survey found that 20% of participants watch less than one hour of TV per day, and almost 80% watch only 1-10 channels (out of hundreds of options) on average. They point to content discovery challenges here, noting: “How can Pay-TV providers expect an increase in engagement, channels watched and VOD purchases if the content discovery experience hasn’t changed in years?”

When it comes to second screen apps, the study shows that companion apps are more popular than official network apps—only 11% said they use a TV network app seven days a week, but 34% said they don’t use them at all. In contrast, more than 21% of respondents use a social TV app like GetGlue or Viggle seven days per week.

Read more about it at Multichannel News.

Brief Take: Pay-TV services and streaming services are often used together in order to give a consumer one complete TV content experience. The idea of cord cheating focuses on the growing concern that consumers might not always settle for paying for both, and will have to choose.


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