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The plethora of video streaming services and clutter of content online, is getting to users in India with nearly seven-in-ten subscribers having expressed frustration with their viewing experiences, according to a new report by professional services company Accenture. Around 46% of those surveyed indicated they spend more than six minutes searching for something to watch.

The report titled Streaming's Next Act: Aggregators to play a starring role in making consumers happier, surveyed 6,000 consumers globally across North America, South America, Europe, South Africa, and Asia Pacific (which included India and Japan), among others) to understand their preferences, beliefs, and behaviours on their video content streaming experiences. Fieldwork was conducted between October and November 2021.

In addition to the challenge of finding something to watch, consumers in India also think more than 60% of the content they are paying for is not relevant to them. Furthermore, 81% of those surveyed in India say they wish their profile from one service could easily be shared with another service that may offer them better, more personalized content.

While growth in streaming services has given consumers an explosion in choice, it’s also created considerable complexity, according to the report. As they adopt more services, consumers must manually browse through platforms, screens, and menus until they eventually find what they’re looking for. And navigating through OTT services is like entering different rabbit holes, each with its own entry and exit— a turnoff for consumers.

60% of consumers globally consider the process of navigating among these different services “a little" to “very" frustrating with the figure at 69% in India. The survey also found that the more services consumers use, the more frustrated they get. 22% of consumers globally said they use four or more services, versus 33% of whom said they subscribe to just one. And the former are more likely than the latter (65% versus 60%) to say they’re frustrated with the navigation experience.

The monthly payments for more services are a growing problem. In fact, many consumers are approaching their upper limit on the amount of money they’ll be spending for streaming services. According to the survey, 33% of consumers globally say they will “somewhat" or “greatly" decrease spend on media and entertainment across subscriptions and one-time purchases in the next 12 months with the figure in India at 46%.

There’s also less appetite among consumers for adding new services to their existing subscriptions, just 34% said they were interested in doing so. A big reason for the apparent lack of interest in new spending and services is that most consumers feel they’re paying for a lot of content they never watch and they’re not interested in. About 74% of consumers in India agreed to the statement “it’s too expensive to pay for the entertainment subscriptions I want to have."

With multiple users often accessing the same account, many algorithms generate recommendations based on an incomplete viewing history—and those recommendations can be off base, the report said.

A majority of consumers globally said they’d like to be able to take their profile from one service to another to better personalized content (56%). In India, 81% of users somewhat or completely agreed with the statement “I would like to be able to take my profile from one service to another in order to allow better personalization of content" while 79% agreed with “I would be happy to allow a video on demand service to know more about me, for example personal interests, mood or current location in order to better personalized recommendation."

“As the video streaming segment has matured, consumers are increasingly finding the experience to be complicated, expensive and hard to use. Evolving consumer preferences and tough economics will create challenges for video streaming platforms. To win in this competitive space, the ecosystem needs a major reset, in addition to providing consumers greater control over their viewing experience," Saurabh Kumar Sahu, managing director and lead for communications, media and technology practice, Accenture in India said in a statement.

For streaming to continue to grow and fulfil its potential, a big change to the ecosystem is needed through the addition of a smart aggregator, sitting across multiple platforms, that dramatically increases viewers’ control over the content they watch, the report said. To be sure, this has already seen some initiation in the Indian market with direct-to-home (DTH) platform Tata Sky, rebranding to Tata Play as it looks to offer linear television and OTT subscriptions in combined packages and Amazon Prime Video that recently launched Prime Video Channels to make eight other subscription-driven video-on-demand platforms available on its app and website.

“Till now, most Indian OTT platforms have tried to differentiate through content and majority of their investments have gone into flagship titles. With changing viewing patterns, this needs to change and factor in scenarios like shared viewing. For the next phase of growth, these platforms need to focus on improving consumer experience and product features," Neeraj Sharma, managing director – communications, media and technology, Accenture in India said in a statement.

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