Is Pay-TV Evolving Fast Enough to Maintain Consumer Attention?

Marina Netto - 10.19.2021

Pay-TV is a sector facing a wave of dramatic change. Across many established markets, such as the USA, there are now popular guides explaining “cord-cutting”—how to leave cable TV services—resulting in streaming giants experiencing impressive growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

But across different markets and demographics, there are diverse preferences. Cable and traditional broadcast TV still retain many customers who prefer this option to streaming services. Both types of Pay-TV now contribute to a dynamic industry that has actually revived television itself and created possibly the best ever era for new and original content. But how are Pay-TV customers feeling about the service they experience?

We asked Pay-TV customers this question in our Teleperformance Customer Experience Lab (CX Lab) Global Survey and the results are fascinating. Streaming is clearly on the rise. Considering consumers who have both cable/satellite and streaming services (66%) and those who only have streaming (6%), the survey reveals that 73% of all respondents subscribe to a streaming service. For Gen Zs, “cord-cutting,” which means giving up cable/satellite entirely, has gone from 6% to 9%.

There is a big difference between the traditional cable or satellite customer experience when compared to the new streaming services. Across all 19 industries in the survey, Pay-TV had the second or third-worst scores across the main customer service KPIs. The numbers are mainly driven by the poor performance of cable/satellite providers since streaming customers report good results throughout the study.

A lack of competition has traditionally defined service levels. Low brand satisfaction and advocacy often come hand in hand with low competition. As such, Pay-TV scores are not surprisingly low—in many cases, some customers can only choose from a single service. But new players are setting much higher benchmarks for customer satisfaction.

Pay-TV brands are not seeing more customer contact if they offer more channels. Consumers are diversifying how they interact with companies, but this does not necessarily mean more volume. In fact, streaming customers use more channels, with customers contacting less often and rating the customer service better.

The industry is riding a wave of rapid digital acceleration. Among customers contacting their providers, the percentage of respondents using instant messaging, mobile apps, social media, and automated chat grew by five percentage points. A preference for digital channels is also taking off while most voice-based channels are in decline. However, for the cable/satellite segment, Voice is still the cornerstone of customer support.

Growth in the use of apps has been strong. App usage, which includes customer service and non-customer service interactions, registered the fifth-largest growth this year, reaching 46% in general and +60% in streaming clients.

As with all subscription services, customer experience is critical. Once a customer is paying their subscription, they are unlikely to easily cancel unless they find no new, fascinating content, revise all their subscriptions together, or have a poor customer experience, which leads them to focus on a different service. If a customer decides they need to reduce their outgoings, then it’s challenging to avoid a cancellation. Still, a positive customer experience can ensure that customers are not lost because they are simply unhappy with the service received.


The Teleperformance CX Lab is our award-winning research center dedicated to monitoring consumers’ changing behaviors and expectations globally. For more insights on Pay-TV, please download our complete white paper “Is Pay-TV Evolving Fast Enough to Maintain Consumer Attention” analyzing the results of the CX Lab Global CX Survey!

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