US streaming “widely popular” but users see too much choice | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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While it says streaming’s popularity continues to drive tectonic changes in how media companies are organised and valued, a study from Whip Media is warning that the leading subscription video-on-demand suppliers will need to have an abundance of both original and evergreen content to continue to prosper.
WhipMedia 20Sep2021
In its study, enterprise software provider for the global content licensing ecosystem surveyed almost four thousand US users of its TV Time app, respondents it says are avid users of streaming services and provide unique visibility into consumer sentiment surrounding SVOD in general as well as attitudes toward individual services.

Among the key findings was that while streaming was fundamentally popular, 70% of respondents felt that there were too many subscription services on the market. The primary reasons for this were cost, annoyance at switching back and forth between services to view content, and difficulties in managing the services and choices. When asked if they could only keep one streaming service, 41% of consumers said Netflix would be their choice if they could only keep one; followed by Hulu (21%), HBO Max (13%), Disney+ (9%), and Amazon (6%)

US consumers subscribe to an average of 4.7 services, up slightly compared with 4.2 in spring. Consumers noted that they were planning to add only one more service to their current total, indicating they are close to maxed out. This said Whip Media supports a widely held belief that five is the limit for most consumers, due to a combination of costs and management of the services.

The top five currently comprises Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max. The analysis emphasised that staying in that group will depend on having an abundance of both compelling original content and evergreen library content to satisfy users when certain originals inevitably decline in popularity.

With so much competition in the industry, churn is inevitable. Consumers have taken advantage of the ease of cancelling an SVOD as 32% of our sample cancelled a service in the past year. However, those were spread out over all of the SVODs. All of the services were relatively sticky in that Disney+, Netflix and Apple TV+ had the highest cancellation rates at just 6%.

Looking at the general market position of teg leading five players, Whip believes Amazon would appear to be in the most dangerous position based on lower customer satisfaction with its video content. But it added that Amazon was likely to hold its position for its other features that are included along with Prime Video and that the purchase of the MGM library should also help maintain their competitiveness.
Among the remaining services, Paramount+ and Peacock are currently the most intriguing among the challengers. Whip sees them as having the libraries to compete with the leading players and a few originals, but they need more. Discovery+ it said occupies a narrower niche with lower production cost programming, and is less expensive than the others’ ad-free tiers, so it may not need to be in the top five. Whip also believes that the recent merger with Warner Media also clouds its future: that is, does it continue in its current form, or integrate into HBO Max.

Despite some critically acclaimed and popular original series, Apple TV+ is, observed Whip Media, in a “particularly weak” position as it doesn’t have a library that customers crave. While it recognised the huge financial heft Apple has in order to purchase any content library that is available for sale, Apple TV+ was seen as a ripe target for content sellers to help them increase customer satisfaction and lower churn, especially as those free promotional accounts end.

Concluding, Whip Media said that given the importance of library content to the consumer, all of the platforms should be on the hunt for evergreen shows and films to ensure they maintain market share while creating their next original hit.