‘Tis the Season to Watch TV…Fa la la la la, la la la la

It’s that time of year and for many, TV is a big part of ushering in the holiday cheer. For the second year, Paywizard has commissioned research into TV viewing behaviour over the Christmas period via an international survey of 6,242 consumers in six bellwether television markets around the globe.

This new research provides insight into increasing pay-OTT subscriptions over this Christmas season as well as developments in the industry over the last 12 months. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what the broader viewing patterns are expected to be this Christmas; what trends we expect to see in OTT over the festive period; and what may drive audiences to drop OTT services after the Christmas trees come down.


Doubling down on Pay-OTT – According to our research, pay-OTT has taken firm root across all territories, nearly doubling in the past year from 25% to 45% of consumers now subscribing to at least one service. This growth promises to continue to soar with 30% of respondents surveyed planning to subscribe to a pay-OTT service this Christmas (up from 27% in 2015). Of those, 18% are subscribing to a service for first time, while 12% are adding an additional subscription to the mix.

There’s no time like the present – The Christmas season marks the perfect time for pay-OTT operators to reach out to their target market, as 59% of consumers across all markets surveyed plan to watch more TV this festive season, thanks to an increase in time off from work. More intend to do their holiday TV viewing on traditional and smart sets (85% in 2016 versus 80% last year), while slightly fewer plan to watch on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops (46% versus 42% in 2015) – this is right on par with industry trends, showing stronger sales of smart TVs with built-in OTT compatibility


Never underestimate the little guy – Netflix may be as big as Goliath, and the market’s primary driver of growth. However, the growth in the market has also created opportunities for several local challenger brands carving their own OTT niches. These smaller brands have shown strong potential in most markets, with up to 71% of first-time subscribers plan to sign with a local competitor this Christmas. Some examples of the smaller players making gains are Foxtel Play being the choice of 32% of Australians surveyed. While in Germany 22% plan to go with Maxdome. Now TV, a subscription-based VOD service, in which 19% of UK consumers planning to subscribe to a new OTT service this Christmas say they intend to sign up to

Maintaining Christmas gains – The good news is, the OTT business will be booming during this holiday season. The bad news is, the research also reveals 50% of new OTT subscribers plan to cancel within six months. Cost and content are most commonly named among the top three reasons subscribers would cancel an OTT service, with 63% identifying expense as a factor and 42% listing “not much to watch”. “Bad customer experience” is a close third at 35%. So while most operators will experience growth, they’ll have to work extra hard to maintain it post-Christmas, through well-timed discounts, content recommendations and a seamless customer experience.

Download our latest paper, ‘OTT isn’t just for Christmas: The Gift that Keeps on Giving’ for deeper insight into the viewing habits of OTT subscribers this festive season.