TV providers struggle to stand out from the crowd
In the crowded TV market, it's becoming difficult to see how providers can differentiate themselves from their rivals.
Sky, Virgin Media, BT, Freesat, YouView and Freeview are all battling it out for customers, but the differences between their propositions have arguably never been smaller.
Virgin Media, for instance, has talked up the quality of the on-demand offering delivered by its TiVo next-generation entertainment service. However, it's far from alone in offering a huge library of catch-up and on-demand content - it's the TiVo name and functionality that make the product appealing.
Likewise, when YouView was first unveiled as Project Canvas back in 2010, its partners - including the BBC, ITV, BT and TalkTalk - made a big deal of the service's ability to let customers enjoy catch-up programming without tying them to a monthly subscription.
In the time it took for YouView to come to market, Freeview unveiled plans for its own backwards EPG (electronic programme guide) functionality that will allow you to scroll through a week's worth of content to find the shows you missed - although it's not yet known when this will be introduced.
Freesat has followed suit, announcing this week that the backwards EPG feature has been added to its Freesat+ set-top boxes as part of a new smart onscreen TV guide update.
So in the face of all that competition, how can a provider hope to win new subscribers while keeping hold of its existing customer base?
Exclusive content has played an important role in the past - Sky, in particular, has benefited from hiding Premier League football, movies and US drama behind its paywall.
But with BT surprisingly bagging its own exclusive Premier League rights earlier this summer and Sky's decision to introduce online movie streaming service Now TV, this exclusivity may eventually become a thing of the past.
Perhaps the biggest silver lining for the industry is the apparent customer loyalty that exists within pay TV. A recent Post Office HomePhone and Broadband study found more than two-thirds of cable and satellite TV subscribers would not leave their current provider.
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