Denmark, like the US, is rushing toward an online TV future. Moreover, like the US, problems are beginning to appear with that SVOD-centric world. For example, 11% of Danish SVOD users spend too much time fighting about what to watch!
At The Future TV Conference in Denmark, I spoke with Julie Nygaard, Head of Media and Partner, at Danish analyst firm Wilke. Ms. Nygaard gave a presentation which detailed the state of the Danish TV market. In many ways, the Danish market parallels the US market, and her research reveals some emerging problems with the SVOD economy that are likely present in the US as well.
Cord-cutters disliked paying for channels they didn’t watch
As in the US, most Danes still have pay television, though the number of subscribers is declining. Today, 85% of Danes have pay TV, down from 93% in 2015. 30% say they are cord-shavers: they have reduced the cost of their pay TV subscription by dropping to a lower tier or getting rid of a premium subscription. Ms. Nygaard says that 9% of Danes have cut the cord. 4% have never had pay TV, up 2% from 3 years ago.
Wilke asked the survey participants why they would get rid of pay TV service. Like the US, the number one issue was price, with 64% citing it as a primary reason. 87% of US cord-cutters say the same thing. The average Dane spends around half what the average American spends on pay TV.
The second most cited reason was that people are tired of paying for the many channels they do not watch. Again, this is a sentiment likely shared with US TV watchers. TiVo says that 81% of US adults want to be able to choose the channels in their TV package rather than pay for channels they do not watch.
The downsides of SVOD
SVOD services have been available in the Danish market since 2012. In October of that year, Netflix and HBO Nordic launched. Today, Netflix is used by 45% of Danes and HBO Nordic by 18%. What’s more, the average Dane now spends 36% of their viewing time streaming, up from 19% in 2014.
Wilke asked SVOD viewers about some of the drawbacks they saw with SVOD viewings. 23% said that streaming services don’t keep them up-to-date with what is going on in the community. 15% missed the fact that TV operators aggregated the channels for them, and 13% seemed to think it was contributing to their addiction to the Internet. Most interesting of all, 11% said they had difficulty agreeing with their spouse, family, or friends on what to watch.
Bringing together pay TV and SVOD an emerging need
Earlier this year, Hub Research asked a group of US survey participants if they would rather access all their TV content from a single source. Of the nearly 50% that expressed a clear preference in their answer to the question, 69% preferred a single source while 31% preferred accessing sources individually. It appears Danes are similarly becoming frustrated with the increased complexity of their TV lives.
Wilke asked Danes if they thought it was important to be able to collect their pay TV package and streaming services into one package. The company found one-third agreed it was important. Moreover, the group interested in an “uber-aggregator” has increased steadily over the last three years. However, Ms. Nygaard was quick to point out that many are not looking to go back to the days of traditional pay TV, where the operator picked the channels.
Why it matters
Other mature SVOD markets can learn from Denmark’s experiences.
SVOD services have made our television lives more complicated, resulting in a growing increase in aggregation services.
SVOD services are cutting us off from our community and contributing to discord with family and friends.