Faced with an unprecedented array of digital media sources, US consumers are taking their entertainment matters into their own hands and piecing together their experiences across multiple services (pay-TV, streaming video, gaming and music) to access their favourite content, according to Deloitte’s 13th edition of the Digital Media Trends survey. The average US consumer now subscribes to three streaming video services, with 43 per cent of consumers subscribing to both streaming and traditional pay-TV services.
This year’s survey noted strong growth in streaming video subscription services (69 per cent) and streaming music services (41 per cent). Pay-TV remained relatively flat with 65 per cent of US households subscribing to the same, and 29 per cent paying for live TV streaming services. High-quality, original content continues to be a dominant factor in streaming video growth, with 57 per cent of current US streaming consumers (and 71 per cent of millennials, ages 22-35) subscribing to streaming video services to access original content.
The survey found that 37 per cent of US millennials binge-watch every week, watching an average of four hours in a single sitting. Consumers also continue to spend more time streaming video from their paid services (46 per cent) versus free video streaming services (29 per cent). Consumers are not only binge-watching in high numbers, they are also streaming movies, with 70 per cent of millennials reporting they stream movies weekly, and 40 per cent doing so daily. Furthermore, social media remains supreme with millennials (54 per cent) in the search for new TV shows.
“With more than 300 over the top video options in the US, coupled with multiple subscriptions and payments to track and justify, consumers may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue,’” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and US Telecom and Media and Entertainment leader, Deloitte LLP. “As media companies and content owners wrestle with how to retain and grow their subscriber base, they should not only continue to strengthen their content libraries, quality, distribution and value, but also keep a close eye on consumer frustrations, including advertising overload and data privacy concerns.”
More freedom — and, more friction?
While consumers are exercising their increased power to choose their own programming, nearly half (47 per cent) are frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want. Additionally, 57 per cent of consumers express frustration when content disappears from their streaming libraries.
While consumers know exactly what they want to watch (69 per cent of the time), they also expressed frustrations with content discovery across platforms:
Consumers are also increasingly wary of how companies handle their data, with 82 per cent citing they don’t believe companies do enough to protect their personal data. Conversely, consumers overwhelmingly believe they are responsible for protecting (49 per cent) and owning (88 per cent) their data. Very few respondents (7 per cent) believe that the government should play a role in protecting their data.
Advertising overload — consumers tap out
The survey found consumer dissatisfaction with high volumes of advertising, pushing them away from pay-TV.
Consumers find their voice (assistant)
Ownership of voice-assistant home speakers grew 140 per cent year-over-year with total penetration soaring from 15 per cent to 36 per cent. When consumers use digital assistants, 42 per cent of the time they are using them on home devices versus smartphones (34 per cent of the time).
Gaming consoles evolve, and eSports moves mainstream
Gaming is increasingly becoming a centrepiece of the entertainment puzzle, especially as the gaming console continues to evolve as a hub for content consumption.
“Consumers are using a combination of services, so they can watch, hear and play what they want. They’re not waiting for someone to provide it for them,” concluded Dr. Jeff Loucks, executive director, Deloitte Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Deloitte LLP. “Consumers love the freedom to customise their media consumption, but there’s growing friction. Consumers have trouble finding their favourite programmes across multiple subscriptions, get frustrated when content “vanishes” from a service without notice, and feel they sit through too many ads. Consumers will pick media companies that give them flexibility to choose the content they want, with less friction.”