Back before OTT took over the world, HBO was one of the top networks to tune into for premium original content in the US. Shows like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Six Feet Under,” “Deadwood,” and “Sex and the City,” helped the company hold that spot for an extended period of time. However, as many know, that time of dominance is coming to an end. Streaming companies like Netflix, which plans to spend up to $8 billion dollars on around 700 original projects, and Amazon, which in the past has spent over $4 billion on content, is giving the network a run for its money.
While HBO is still home to shows that are at the front of discussions at the water cooler — like “Game of Thrones” and “West World” — the cable network/OTT provider will need to shift its focus to more than just content if it expects to remain a top destination for consumers looking for entertainment. A new report released by UserTesting, a leading on-demand human insights platform, found that HBO’s SVOD app, HBO Now, is one of the lowest-rated SVOD apps on the market compared to other services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
The main complaints about the app revolved around difficulty finding recommended content and poor connectivity such as lag, freezing, and buffering issues. UserTesting notes that had it not been for HBO’s clean, sleek, and uncluttered design, its score — which measured ease of use, speed, credibility, aesthetics, and delight — might have been lower than its below average score of 72.
Issues like buffering aren’t exclusive to HBO. In Q1 2018, rebuffing accounted for a loss of 2.9B viewing hours, according to Conviva’s All-Screen Streaming TV Census Report. However consumers are more likely to notice connectivity issues when shelling out $15/mo for a service like HBO GO — especially if they are subscribing to the service for just a select few shows.