Netflix. Hulu. Amazon Prime Video. YouTube TV. And coming soon, Disney+ and HBO Max. If you’re looking for an ad-free streaming tv service, or to join the growing ranks of cable cord-cutters, the options are plentiful, and for many, overwhelming.
For years, the landscape of streaming services was the California gold rush of the 21st century with consumers just as eager to get a piece of the action as producers. But with the influx of options in the media streaming world and the expanses of new technology, people not only have more ways to stream, but they also have more places to stream from. This creates as many problems as it does opportunities.
The data pulled from a recent Gen Pop survey from Maru/Matchbox represents the first of many shifts in the needs of the media consumer.
Here are 5 things you need to know about how consumers are interacting with streaming services
#1 People Are Using More Devices…
Though they may not be streaming from more services, consumers are now able to stream from more devices. Smartphones, connected TV’s, tablets, laptops, and more have streaming capabilities which allow users to stream movies or shows whenever they want on whatever size screen. This puts interface flexibility as a top priority for anyone trying to capitalize on the market of plugged-in, on-the-go consumers.
#2 …But They’re Using Them One at a Time
Compared with an earlier study in February which asked many of the same questions, the percentage of people surveyed this June using other devices while watching TV dropped – albeit in small amounts — across all categories. Whether people are using their devices to stream to their TVs (thus cutting off their access to that device), or are setting aside specific, uninterrupted time for TV viewing, the message is clear: People want to be engaged by the content they watch.
#3 The Rate of Subscriptions is Slowing Down…
Those adding new subscription streaming services tend to be 18-24 and 34-44-year-olds (vs. 45+). However, majorities of both groups only reported adding 1-2 services, despite the large catalog of choices offered. While online streaming may be a buffet of options, consumers are being very picky about what they are putting on their plate.
#4 …But People Aren’t Cancelling Their Services Either
When asked if and why they had recently canceled a subscription service, 66% of respondents reported that they had not recently canceled a service, which supports the notion that consumers are loyal to the services they do have. Among the most popular reasons that people canceled their subscription services included 1) favorite TV shows being taken down, 2) a decrease in an appealing selection of content, and 3) the rising cost of maintaining multiple subscriptions.
#5 Millennials and “young” Gen X’ers Are Holding the Line
Looking once more at the age breakdown of respondents, 18-24-year-olds are unwilling and/or unable to shell out the amount of cash flow to maintain necessary for amassing and maintaining a significant number of subscription services. The 25-44 demographic, however, shed some light on consumer habits. Their answers across the board suggest that though they are not canceling their pre-existing services, those who are adding services on an annual basis have become the exception, rather than the rule.
Streaming services that adapt to the will of their customers will come out on top
What goes around, comes around. These trends opens up the door for the AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) to once again take the streaming scene by force. Consider that Pluto TV and Sony’s Crackle have established themselves as viable alternatives to subscription-based services. Viewers today don’t mind watching ads if it saves them money and delivers a constant stream of new content.
The AVOD market is back in full force and provides near-infinite opportunity to reach consumers in the short and long term, should companies like Warner Bros., Disney and NBCUniversal choose to take advantage of it.
Today’s consumer base is not so far removed from the days of Blockbuster, DVR, and commercial breaks that they cannot remember when TV content was all in one place. It is not the consumer who will adapt to the content providers, but rather the content providers who will, eventually, need to bend to the will of their customers. Now, consumers are looking for an easy answer to this critical question: What shows can they consistently watch, on their preferred platform, without having to add or cancel services to maintain their content and entertainment budget?
To learn more about the landscape of streaming services, contact me.