Customisation, Control and A La Carte Services

Benedicte Guichard | Tue Jan 19 2016 | Industry insights


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With television services evolving each and every year, people are constantly changing their attitudes towards the way the in which they enjoy their evening entertainment.

Whether it’s a classic TV box set, a cutting-edge drama, a blockbuster movie or a body slamming WWE extravaganza, these days, the thing people are looking for most in a service provider is flexibility.

Value & cost of a la carte TV

People no longer want to be at the mercy of rigid pay television schedules, they want the power to be able to choose where and when they watch their favourite shows - a fully customisable experience, if you will.

As viewing power is so important in this day and age, we have seen a rapid rise in the a la carte service. In fact, a recent report carried out by PWC uncovered that 45% of loyal pay-TV subscribers said they most preferred an a la carte package of channels - and this is expected to rise in the not so distant future -  but why is this kind of service in such hot demand?

Well, as we said, people want an viewing experience which is suited to their individual preferences - and a la carte bundling looks to be the way forward. It seems that people have become tired of wading through endless channels that they have no interest in, taking the time in which it would take to watch your average TV comedy show to actually find something they want to watch.

However, although this flexible style of bundling is very appealing, many consider it to be somewhat fragmented, as well as costly (as the below diagram shows):


A la carte services fragmentation Source: Videoquake 3.0 report by PWC


Although $12 per month for a neatly packaged a la carte bundle doesn’t seem like much, when you are picking and subscribing to a selection of a la carte providers, it soon adds up.

But is this cheaper than a monthly cable subscription?

Perhaps the answer is: it really depends on the individual needs of the viewer. If someone is looking for an all singing all dancing a la carte set-up, it could prove to be a costly experience; however, if someone simply wants a few prime time shows, peppered with a choice of movies, a la carte could well provide real value for money.

Video publishers' new focus

In order to prevail in this ultra-competitive playground, a la carte providers must put an emphasis on customisation, control and perceived value. In short, those who out their time and effort into the following areas will come out on top:

  • Quality, streamlined content with a real niche
  • Savvy marketing that captures viewers’ attention
  • Giving target customers exactly what they want
  • Exclusive content curation that is cutting edge
  • Less intrusive/frequent advertising
  • True personalisation and a top notch user experience.

In terms of demand, it does seem that many OTT providers and programmers are missing a trick when it comes to this emerging trend of a la carte viewing; this comes in the form of live sports. According to a recent survey, it a whopping 51% of people said they would like to have a robust sports package as part of their a la carte menu. Although sports providers are lacking in this department, it is almost certain that sports/premium sports offerings will start to appear from the woodwork this year - and beyond.


Source: Videoquake 3.0 report by PWC Source: Videoquake 3.0 report by PWC


2016 is going to be a huge year for a la carte, OTT and VoD services and with the competition heating up, there are going to be some major advancements in store. Some providers will be victorious; some defeated, but one thing’s for sure - for consumers and providers alike, it’s going to get interesting.


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