Exclusive content drives streaming subs as FAST becomes mainstream | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The latest Conquering Content study from Hub Entertainment Research has shown a market where more and more, streaming TV services own the content conversation and their advantage as the home for favourite shows continues to grow.
Hub 11NOv 2021
The study was conducted in October 2021 among 1,604 US consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. It tracked how consumers discover TV content —and the platforms they use to watch newly discovered TV shows and films.

Three key trends emerged from the 2021study: streaming’s advantage as the home for favourite shows continues to grow; exclusive content is a strong driver of new sign-ups and FAST viewing has become mainstream.
Consumers were found to be three times more likely to discover a new show on a streaming platform than on a traditional network. Among TV viewers who have discovered a new favourite TV show in the past year, 75% say the show they’ve discovered is on a streaming service. Only 21% have discovered a new favourite from a traditional pay-TV source such as live TV, DVR or VOD.

The proportion discovering a new favourite on streaming has increased every year since we’ve been tracking viewing behaviours, while the proportion discovering from a traditional service has declined every year. Even Netflix was still the single most common destination for new show discovery, named by 35% of viewers, the study pinpointed how the service has lost some ground in the past year as the home for favourite shows, while the other “big 5” streaming services have gained, dipping three percentage points since 2021.

Exclusivity is a huge driver for growth. Two-fifths of TV consumers have signed up for a streaming service to watch a single show or movie not available on any other platform and the amount of people signing up for a streaming service for one show only is up 6 points since 2020. Exclusive shows can attract long-term subscribers, not just one-offs: a solid 77% of those signing up to watch one show end up keeping the service once they’ve watched.

Hub observed that that for the first time since 2013 when it started tracking, a majority (53%) of TV consumers say they sometimes watched content from a free TV streaming service with ads, such as Pluto TV, Roku Channel, Tubi, IMDB TV, and the free version of Peacock. That percentage was up a full 11 points since this time I 2020 and 15 points since 2019. Received wisdom regarding FAST services has been that most consumers use them for lean-back viewing: the streaming equivalent of linear TV channel surfing. But FAST viewers said that more than half the time, they tune in to their service of choice to watch a specific show or movie they know is available on the service.

“Netflix knew what it was doing back in 2013 when it prominently branded House of Cards as a ‘Netflix Original,’” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “More than half of TV viewers say that simply touting a show as an original makes them more interested in watching, which in turn leads them to sign up for fear of missing out. One burning question is whether viewers will similarly originals on FASTs like The Roku Channel (which this year launched a slate of original shows)—or whether those services are fated to be forever associated with older, nostalgia-friendly content.”