I guess part of what I'm trying to say is that they are now a comparatively expensive option. Unless they want to outright compete on price, which I suspect they can't do, they have to compete on wider value for money. This means improving the user experience.
They have made some steps in this direction, especially with on-demand. But they need to do more.
There are some obvious options, some of which have some cost, some of which won't cost much if anything, and some of which might actually make money.
Some random thoughts:
- Offer a high-end premium decoder (possibly for a higher rental). This could feature, for example: a working 60-second skip button, a much bigger hard drive, provision for external storage (encrypted and tied to the decoder if worried about piracy), a DLNA server so recordings can be watched across a network, ability to work as a media server and play files from DLNA servers, add terrestrial as well as satellite tuners, uprated processor so it's more responsive. Basically, a box which can become the entertainment hub of the house.
- As far as possible, get rid of the ads and incessant promos that constantly interrupt shows - at least on channels like the Zone that they have complete control of.
- Stop the awful practice where, as soon as a show ends, the credits are squeezed to a small portion of the screen and a loud shouty promo starts. Particularly on premium channels like SoHo.
- While they are at it, stop the distracting in show interruptions - spinning beer ads in the corner of a screen during rugby games, exhortations about on demand in the corner of the screen during game of Thrones, huge banners across the bottom telling me what's up next.
- Ability to register an android/iOS device to the decoder, and copy content off the box (in SD if necessary) for viewing on the go.
- Let me disable the irritating requirement to enter a PIN for R18 films during the day, and not have to do it each time. I currently have no children in my household.
Basically, if you are going to charge me a higher price, provide an experience that makes it feel pleasant and value for money compared to alternatives.