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Analyzing consumers’ appetite for video services

February 6, 2019 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Americans are spending more time than ever viewing content, be it paid or free, from linear TV to streaming video devices. According to the new TIVO Video Report, based on Q4 2018, the average household now uses 2.75 services, a 26% increase in service usage compared to the same time last year. The TIVO Video Report interviewed close to 4,500 adults 18+ in the U.S. and Canada.

TV viewers subscribe to multiple services in order to watch the content they want, when they want it. Top consumer bundles include subscriptions to Netflix, Prime Video and Pay-TV (10%), Facebook, YouTube and Pay-TV and YouTube, Netflix and Pay-TV (both 8% each). With marketplace fragmentation continuing, the question remains, how long will consumers maintain subscriptions to multiple services?

Essential viewing

More than half of the respondents (53%) report Netflix as an essential entertainment source, followed by free YouTube (46%), and cable-TV (40%). Interestingly, just over 40% of consumers also report cable-TV as supplemental to their entertainment sources, suggesting consumers are equally as committed to cable TV as they are non-committed. The distinction consumers make between essential entertainment services and supplemental is an important one. It will eventually determine the services consumers keep and which they cancel.

While Netflix may hold the largest audience share as an essential entertainment source, Live TV dominates total viewing time (self-reported). Close to two-thirds of respondents’ report (65%) watching one hour or more of Live-TV per day, 52% watch one hour or more of OTT/Subscriptions services per day, 51% watch recorded content (e.g. DVR) and 46% watch one hour or more of live sporting events (which may factor into the 65% Live-TV viewing).

Live TV remains popular

Free video content is also popular with nearly one-third of respondents (31%) reporting use of a free video service. Top free video services include YouTube (58%), Facebook (44%), Twitch and Pluto TV, each rounding to 18%. Interestingly, network TV mobile apps show limited appeal. Nearly 60% of respondents do not use any TV network apps. Of those using a TV network app on mobile, the top downloaded include: ABC (10%), A&E (9%), CNN (8%), Cartoon Network (8%), and CBC (7%).

In addition, more than one-fifth of respondents (22%) access Pay-TV via a streaming device. In fact, 26% report replacing their set-top-box (STB) with a streaming device. The top five streaming devices include a smart TV (27%), gaming console (19%), Roku (18%), Amazon Fire Stick (16%), and Apple TV (13%).

Consumer fatigue

Breaking up cable TV packages and going a la carte is an option for consumers. However, with so many programming and device choices today, the a la carte option is losing favor with only 71% of respondents stating interest compared to 81% in 2017. Further a full 29% of respondents are no longer interested in the a la carte option at all.

The TIVO Report clearly shows that consumers have numerous choices when it comes to content, services and devices. Too many options can leave consumers overwhelmed, while too few options can lead to low levels of satisfaction. Industry players need to help consumers discover valued-content and a positive user experience to continue building consumer satisfaction and engagement.

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