Streaming Services

Content Remains King as Average Viewers Now Bundle Seven Streaming Services

As consumers had more options to choose from and more time at home due to COVID restrictions, more people move to watch from traditional channels to free and subscription streaming video services.

According to The NPD Group’s new TV Switching Study, which tracks changes in the ways U.S. consumers view and buy digital content, consumers that use streaming to view content now use seven services including subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services and free streaming video services, up from five in April 2020.

“By and large, consumers want the ability to customize their viewing experience, bundling both paid and free services that provide them with the content they want, when they want it,” stated John Buffone, Executive Director, Industry Analyst within NPD’s Connected Intelligence practice.

Access to exclusive content is a primary reason cited for engaging SVOD services, driving over 25% of engagement, while also resulting in a consumer’s desire to switch services. In fact, an increasing number of SVOD users – 21% in Oct. compared to 14% in April – are decreasing engagement or cancelling subscriptions because they feel other services offer better content.

Free streaming services saw growth from 39% of viewers in April to 47% in October*, as consumers leverage these offerings to supplement SVOD services. While nearly all free streaming services experience lower churn than average, as consumers do not have to subscribe to these platforms, they also experience lower engagement rates. This means these services must differentiate their content array or risk declining user engagement.

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“Amidst COVID-related content production challenges, viewers are increasing the number of streaming services they use, as they seek to find content that captures their interest. Competition will become an even greater challenge for services. Both now, as viewers try more options and later as production ramps up and each service gets new programming,” added Buffone.

*Note: April 2020 data included past year free streaming users, while October 2020 data included past six month users.

The results of the NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence TV Service Switching Study are based on online consumer surveys of more than 5,000 U.S. consumers. The report was fielded in October 14-22, 2020.

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