One in seven global OTT homes borrowing accounts | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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With SVOD surging during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that mass audiences are more than willing to pay for content but research from Ampere Analysis has shown a growing number using ‘borrowed’ accounts to access services.
Ampere borrowed 8June2020
Ampere defines an account borrower as anyone who says they are using a login for a subscription online video platform from someone outside of their household to access a service such as mainstream TV and film products such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video, but also include sports streaming services and niche content services. In its attempt to investigate the scale of the problem in the first quarter of 2020 it tracked 45,000 consumers in across 22 markets worldwide.

Fundamentally the study found that the proportion of consumers borrowing subscription OTT accounts is on the rise and that over the past 12 months, the proportion of global Internet users that are borrowing an account has increased, rising from 8% in Q1 2019 to 11% in Q1 2020, to bring a total of 70 million households borrowing one or more OTT accounts across the 22 markets.

The trend was found to be highest in India, followed by the Netherlands and France, and lowest in Japan, and was growing fastest in the UK, China and Indonesia. Account borrowers were found to be more likely than average to be younger and students even though over 50% have full-time jobs and household incomes on-par with the average consumer. This means that a large proportion of the group does have purchasing power.

Not surprisingly, sports programming was particularly attractive to a subset of account borrowers. In Europe, a greater proportion of users of sports services such as NBA League Pass and NFL Game Pass are account borrowers. This is partly due to the seasonality of sport. Ampere noted that account borrowing by these users was likely to only be for a specific period, or by casual fans who don’t feel they watch enough to merit paying for a subscription.

Yet the double-edge sword for operators potentially valuable revenues is that many of the borrowers are legitimate paying customers. Three-quarters were found to subscribe to at least one subscription OTT service, representing over 50 million households and two-thirds had pay-TV at home.

Moreover, with over half of borrowers saying they don’t mind paying extra for something that gives them exactly what they want, Ampere believes that could be an opportunity for subscription OTT players to convert borrowers to buyers and that global operators may follow NOW TV’s example in the UK, services might offer cheaper one-off passes to allow casual viewers to dip in and out of their services without incurring high fees or being tied into an annual contract.

“As the subscription OTT landscape continues to fragment and consumers are faced with an increasing number of platforms to choose from, this borrowing behaviour will become more prevalent,” commented Minal Modha, consumer research lead, Ampere Analysis.

“With 50 million account borrowers paying for another subscription OTT service and more than two-thirds taking pay-TV, it’s clear that these consumers are not averse to paying for content. Subscription OTT players need strategies to respond to an increasingly saturated market and entice consumers with a finite budget for content to pay for their programming – even if that means changing tack and allowing them to dip in and out of subscriptions or for bite-size chunks of content.”