Pause for Summer: The Power of Seasonality


Seasons change — and the habits of consumers change with it. Whether it be the start of the summer season, when school breaks off and families go on holiday, or the beginning of football season, when many consumers are gathered in front of the big screen, rooting for their favourite teams. As a key component of subscriber management, TV operators should pay close attention to these seasonal trends, offering the flexibility consumers need to adjust to the changing demands of life.

For many, these changes will trigger modifications in TV watching habits. Good changes may trigger an upgrade by the consumer. Unfortunately, not all changes are good. A subscriber with difficult personal circumstances, such as moving or financial struggles, will often consider cancellation. In these instances, savvy operators should instead, provide an option to pause or downgrade service in an effort to avoid customer churn.

On the Up

The motivation to upgrade a service is generally not a decision made on a whim, but is usually triggered by an event. There are certain times of the year when TV watching is up. For example, the Summer Olympics in Rio are about to begin, millions of people will be glued to their TVs throughout August and September for the Olympic and Paralympic season. Also, VoD services often gain a boost when a high profile series launches a new season. Peak periods serve as a prime time to proactively capitalise on these triggers by offering service upgrades to consumers.

The Upgrade moment is the decision from subscribers to increase the level of financial commitment to a service in exchange for return. This could include more channels, premium content or even additional device access or set-top boxes for multi-room viewing.

Consumers want the flexibility to upgrade their service packages as and when they like. It should be an easy and straightforward process. Moreover, operators can grow ARPU by effectively marketing upgrades to customers through an easy to use self-service environment with automated provisioning. It’s a win for everyone.

Down but Not Out

The Downgrade moment is the decision by a subscriber to reduce subscription to a pay-TV service. Just as certain events trigger upgrades, other events trigger downgrades. This may be caused by many factors ranging from content scarcity, pricing, seasonality or a rival offering. Many consumers take extended holidays during the summer and spend less time indoors. While millions of sports fans are seasonal subscribers, consuming much less content during the sporting season, creating a prime time to downgrade their TV service.

Smart operators are keen to offer downgrades as an alternative to service cancellation. It’s imperative that the downgrade process be hassle-free for the consumer, as making it difficult to downgrade can generate feelings of resentment toward the brand — making consumers more likely to cancel and less likely to upgrade in the future.

In an effort to find out what consumers want, we went straight to the source, commissioning a series of focus groups in the UK and US. We found that consumers want the ability to upgrade and downgrade with a few simple clicks, the flexibility to make these changes both online and over the phone, and fair, prorated subscriber billing options for mid-month changes in service. We also discovered that consumers don’t mind upgrade marketing if it’s a good deal that offers them value. Therefore, it’s time for operators to take a more proactive approach, offering consumers the ability to upgrade and downgrade as life transitions from one season to the next.

Learn more about retaining customers through seasonal shifts by downloading our new eBook, ‘Seize the Moments: Supersize Your Subscribers’.