Real Time Communications Featured Article

OTT Video Services Prove Remarkably Cancellation-Resistant in U.K.

November 10, 2015

With the holiday shopping season approaching, some households may be considering belt-tightening strategies to free up cash for Christmas presents. One field that's not being much considered, according to a new Parks Associates study of United Kingdom households, is over-the-top (OTT) video services, as cancellations therein have been minimal.

The Parks Associates study found that just three percent of U.K. households have canceled one or more OTT video services in the past year. That's in concert with 33 percent of households in the region that have an OTT subscription currently. Interestingly, American households were more likely to cancel service, but also more likely to have it in general. Fifty-nine percent of households have such a service in place, though nine percent recently canceled a service.


Parks Associates' director of research, Brett Sappington, offered some elaboration on the results. He noted that service cancellation, and the switching of services that commonly follows, is the sign of a mature market. Thus the United States is well out in front as it's had such services longer, while Western Europe, which more recently got in, is just starting to see that trend. Sappington is set to deliver further research on this topic at the OTT TV Summit in London as part of a panel discussion titled “IoT, OTT & the Smart TV.”

Recently, a study from Juniper Research noted that “entertainment functions” were one of the major parts of a smart home system, and that this market was on track to clear $100 billion in revenues by 2020. What's more, an earlier Parks Associates study detailed how streaming media plays a major role in connected households, as better than one in five households in the United States with at least one CE device in the home used a streaming media player as the main source of online video viewing. Thus the smart home—which is powered by real-time communications—cannot be fully considered without examining streaming video's impact. Sappington also pointed this out in some remarks where he noted that the U.S. consumers who canceled services generally had a subscription to another service. This may be the greatest sign of a mature market, when there are sufficient numbers of competitors on hand that switching among the services can take place.

OTT and streaming video are changing the way we think about entertainment, and both OTT and streaming are a big part of the real time communications landscape. As the two fields advance, we'll likely see many more people take an interest in real time communications, not just for the advances it offers entertainment, but for the value it can deliver on several other fronts. It will change the way we work and play, and will likely do so sooner than we think.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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