US consumers keep stacking SVOD services to meet viewing needs | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The annual Best Bundle study from Hub Entertainment Research has found that US viewers feel compelled to sign up for multiple streaming services, or risk missing out and the average US consumer now uses close to six different sources.
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The research found fundamentally that with all the top streaming platforms touting exclusive content, the average number of individual TV services consumers use to meet their viewing needs continues to climb steadily. It calculated that the typical consumer accesses 5.7 different sources of TV content, including traditional pay-TV service, all available streaming services, and over-the-air reception through an antenna. Hub noted that this number has jumped by nearly one full service since just last year and is almost twice as high as it was in 2019.

Close to four-fifths of TV consumers now use a streaming TV service, 19 percentage points higher than the proportion who have a traditional pay-TV subscription (cable, satellite or telco). The proportion with traditional pay-TV has dropped 7 points since the same time last year. Moreover, the percentage of viewers using any streaming TV service was up only 2 points since last year.

Yet Hub stressed what has led to the large jump in the average number of services has been both the increase in the use of multiple streaming services, and a greater adoption of free, ad-supported services.

Almost three-fifths of all TV consumers use two or more of the top SVODs, that is Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ or HBO Max. The cohort using two or more top SVODs is up 8 points from 2020. Hub said that some of that increase is explained by the fact that HBO Max did not exist at this point in 2020, but that it still demonstrated that consumers tend to add new streaming services without dropping their existing services. Hub observed that also driving the number of sources used was the uptake of free, ad-supported TV services. The percentage of those using the likes of Roku Channel, Pluto TV and the free version of Peacock was up 8 points since 2020 at 48%.

The Best Bundle studBest Bundle study also observed that just over half of TV consumers felt their bundle of TV services met their needs “very well”. But the other half were not completely satisfied. With an average of nearly six TV sources at their disposal, nearly half regarded their TV bundle as meeting their viewing needs only “somewhat well” (42%) or “not at all well” (6%).

Going forward, Hub’s cautioned that the industry should not expect the size of consumers’ bundles to shrink. Just over a fifth said they plan to add new services in the next six months and among those who plan to add, a strong majority say they’ll add without cutting anything they have currently. In fact, said Hub, those who currently had four or more services, and who expect to add new services, were even more likely to say they’ll keep everything they have (78%) without replacing anything.