How Much “Skinnier” Can Bundles Go?
Obviously, the skinny bundle is still a work in progress. But how much skinnier does it need to get before it’s completely acceptable by subscribers?
A new study by TiVO indicates that cord cutters and cable subscribers alike still really like the idea of only paying for the channels they want to watch. The company’s 18th edition of its quarterly video trends report indicates that 77.5% of respondents to its survey want to pay for only the channels they watch.
For the study, TiVo surveyed more than 3,050 consumers. The report includes insights on pay-TV vs. over-the-top (OTT) user experiences, the challenges faced by sports networks, the truth about voice search and more.
If we take a moment, we can all probably recall, how back in the late 2000’s, consumers started paying attention to their cable bills. They were expensive and customers really didn’t watch those hundreds of channels.
Fast forward to 2015 and we see the hot new trend of cable-cutting. In response, cable companies started offering the answer to this ugly trend—it was called “the skinny bundle.” You could get somewhere between 30 and 50 popular channels, for a price you could afford. Skinny bundles came to cable, satellite, and in a high-profile way, to streaming. But there is a problem—people are still saying “skinny bundles” are too expensive.
According to the survey, people think they want to pay under $30 per month for live TV. The simple fact is, that’s not sustainable today. With millions of dollars being spent per episode for original programming, that cost is nearly impossible to do with an ever-shrinking revenue stream.
“TiVo believes vMVPDs could leverage their data to create packages that reflect subscriber interests,” TiVo said in the study. “Instead of three or four skinny bundle packages where the main differentiation is the number of channels included, TiVo believes packages should be built based on interests or viewing behavior.”
The report also notes that while many of these skinny bundle offerings provide the illusion of value, the actual savings isn’t all that impressive once you include an ocean of additional fees and surcharges. But with cord cutting starting to accelerate to record levels, maintaining the illusion of value won’t be sustainable for long.