Over a quarter of US DTC video services shared | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The splurge in launches of direct-to-consumer (DTC) subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services was intended to see a surge in uptake and revenue but a study from Leichtman Research Group has found significant mass sharing.
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The study was based on an online survey of 6,262 households from throughout the US and are part of a new LRG study, Internet-Delivered Pay-TV Services 2021. This is LRG’s fourth annual study focused on the vMVPD category, along with other DTC streaming video services.

The findings revealed that fundamentally 82% of US households have at least one streaming video service from eleven top DTC and SVOD services and just over half (51%) of all households have three or more of these services. Yet it also found that not all of these services are being paid for directly by those who use them.

Specifically, just over-two thirds (69%) of all DTC services were fully paid for and were not being shared with others outside the household but 27% of DTC streaming video services were being used in more than one household. In addition, 13% of services were used and paid for by those that also share them with someone outside the household and 12% of services were used in one household but were borrowed from another household that is paying for the service. Just 2% of services are used by multiple households that share costs and 4% of all DTC services were not paid for because they come with another service. In all, this meant that 16% of all households had at least one DTC service that is fully paid for by someone else. Just over a quarter (26%) of adults ages 18-34 were revealed have at least one DTC service that is fully paid for by someone else. This compared with 12% of those aged over 35.

Adults aged 18-44 accounted for 63% of all with a vMVPD pay-TV service and just over three-quarters (77%) of vMVPD subscribers were very satisfied with their service – compared with 69% in 2018. The survey observed that 13% were very likely to switch from a vMVPD service in the next six months, compared with 27% in 2018. Looking at sharing in this environment, a fifth of all vMVPD services are shared by multiple households, including 6% of all vMVPD services that are fully paid for by someone outside the household.

“Password sharing is prevalent throughout the streaming video industry. Over a quarter of DTC streaming video services are shared with others outside the household, including 12% of all services that are ‘borrowed’ from someone else’s subscription,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, commenting on the Internet-Delivered Pay-TV Services 2021 research. “Yet, sharing of streaming services should not solely be viewed as lost revenue, as the ability to share with others is also part of the retention strategy for the services.”