IBM survey says ads are the biggest reason people consider canceling their streaming video services

IBM’s Cloud Video division is releasing the results of a new survey looking at the behavior of subscribers to video-on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu.

Perhaps the most interesting answers were about how many people canceled their subscriptions and why. According to IBM, 31 percent of respondents said they’d canceled a streaming video subscription in the past, but that number was higher (40 percent) among users who identified Amazon or Hulu as their primary service.

As for the issues that people identified as “most likely” to make them cancel a subscription, 27 percent said too many ads would make them quit, just ahead of the 25 percent who pointed to cost and the 20 percent who said they’d quit if there weren’t enough shows.

Meanwhile, 17 percent said they’d quit because of technical issues. Digging deeper into that issue, 73 percent of survey respondents pointed to either buffering or a delayed start as the most common technical problem they’d encountered.

The survey also looked at password sharing. Surprisingly, 48 percent of respondents said they don’t share their streaming video passwords with anyone (maybe they just didn’t want to admit it?), while 42 percent said they shared with their families.

IBM Cloud Video buffering

David Mowrey, vice president of strategic planning at IBM Cloud Video, argued that these numbers represent more of an opportunity than a problem for subscription video services. For more one thing, it could “lead to more and more services offering a family plan to capture more revenue.”

More broadly, Mowrey said the survey points to the need for video-on-demand services to use data to understand their customers — including, yes, data that’s offered by IBM.

“All the key questions and results really point towards the value of big data and insights into the behavior of consumers on your service,” he said. “If you’re not looking at the consumer behavior on what devices and what consumers are watching, why are they churning out, why are you acquiring them in the first place, you’re at a huge disadvantage.”

The survey of 1,007 US subscription video-on-demand users was conducted online in April. You can download the full report here.