Increased digital media consumption a ripe opportunity for telecoms

18 August 2021 4 min. read
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Canadians’ increased consumption of TV and streaming presents new opportunities for technology, media, and telecom (TMT) companies willing to create added value, according to a recent report from EY. The consulting firm surveyed 17,500 households globally – including 2,500 in Canada – for its “Decoding the digital home 2021” report.

Nearly half (49%) of Canadians said their TV and digital streaming needs increased over the course of the pandemic, with 38% reporting they’re more engaged with the latest home technology. With consumers pouring disposable income into larger internet, data, and streaming packages as well as smart home devices, the pandemic has been a boon for TMT firms.

Consumers are also relatively pleased with their providers, with 60% of Canadians satisfied or very satisfied with their internet provider’s technical support. Only one-in-five Canadians said they were willing to switch broadband providers over the next year.

But now isn’t the time for TMTs to get complacent, according to the experts at EY Canada. Instead, firms should look to deliver new kinds of value to secure a continued share of consumer wallets.

More than half of Canadians said they pay too much for content they don’t use, and 48% said their provider doesn’t do enough to make sure they’re on the best-value deal. “Work backwards from customers’ needs and friction points to offer non-financial goodwill enhancers,” the report notes. “TMT companies should rethink the way they provide offerings to their customers to change the way consumers perceive your role in their home.”

Demand for connectivity and content during the pandemic

Consumers are also increasingly less willing to pay for bulk TV packages to secure a few choice channels, and further cord-cutting is likely to come. Consumers have been increasingly flocking to streaming options which they believe provide much greater value than pay-TV. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they were willing to make room in the budget for additional streaming services by paring back pay-TV spend.

“Abandoning existing approaches to bundling and creating new ways of helping consumers access what they love, when and where they want it, can help you stand out,” said EY.

With most consumers subscribing to multiple streaming services and 43% tagging streaming as the primary method of TV and film viewing, providers can create value for customers by combining disparate services into one interface to simplify password and payment complexities. Thirty-five percent of survey respondents told EY they believe it’s best to get all their connectivity from a single provider.

The opportunity for centralization also extends to smart devices, which can include fridges, TVs, and speakers, among other devices. “Providing end-to-end customer experience that enables unified support, value and cybersecurity across the multitude of smart devices could be a powerful way to strengthen customer retention,” EY notes.

Consumer value perceptions of streaming services and pay-TV

TMT firms can also add value by providing education and practical guidance to demystify new technology. “So many smart devices compete for time, budget, and tech support,” said Stuart McEwen, EY Canada TMT business transformation leader. “Providers that address education gaps by offering clear guidance on how to install services and manage preferences can increase customer satisfaction. And those that go beyond typical value drivers — like speed or reliability — to deliver valuable one-stop-shop solutions for the digitally connected home can seize a huge opportunity.”

Finally, providers can add value by having transparent privacy policies and resilient security measures. Twenty-seven percent of Canadians reported using online health services for the first time during the pandemic, and 46% said they were more concerned about privacy and security of personal information since the start of the pandemic. More than half said they would be interested in opting for additional security and privacy features in their broadband package.

“In a time of heightened privacy concern, it’s vital that companies define proper data protection mechanisms and be transparent in order to build trust and deepen relationships to strengthen customer loyalty in a sea of competition,” said Rohit Puri, TMT leader at EY Canada.