Epix survey confirms multiplatform viewing

59% surveyed view across linear TV, on demand and online

NEW YORK -- A majority of subscribers of premium TV service Epix watch movies across multiple platforms and screens, and giving users the opportunity to do so makes the service stickier.

In a survey ahead of the NCTA Cable Show in LA this week, the joint venture of Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate found this and other evidence that consumers in the digital age, especially the 25-44 year old demo Epix targets, enjoy its approach of making content available in a variety of ways. And it is using the data to pitch itself as a way for distributors to avoid chord-cutting.

According to the results of the survey of more than 500 Epix subscribers across the country, 59% said they view entertainment content on linear TV, on demand and online.

On demand is actually the preferred method of watching for 43%, followed by linear TV at 39% and online with 19%. That seems to validate Epix's position early on that linear premium TV offers alone aren't enough in the digital age.

Some 61% of subscribers value the multiplatform offering and consider it an important feature. Among regular users of on demand and online, that figure rises to 75%, with 45% ranking multiplatform access as the second most valued feature behind access to HD programming (55%). The ability to watch content on their own schedule was the third most valued feature at 44%.

"As the entertainment viewing experience evolves and technology advances, consumers are changing as well, making new choices about viewing programming and forming new habits that include the ability to watch movies on multiple screens," said Epix president and CEO Mark Greenberg. "The consumers have spoken and multiplatform availability is a key driver of value and subscription for premium entertainment services."

Here some additional findings of the Epix study:
* Two-thirds have viewed movies online.
* Web viewers' average age of 36 is more reflective of the average premium TV user.
* Overall satisfaction and likelihood to continue to subscribe are highest among users of online (80%) and on demand (77%), as well as among subscribers ages 18-34 (75%).
* TV is the destination for shared viewing, while online viewing is predominantly personal.

The data on customer satisfaction is a key finding for Greenberg. "Distributors can use the multiplatform subscription offering as a means to retain the (young) customer base most at risk to new alternatives," he said.