Advanced Television

Forecast: US OTT spend to exceed pay-TV in 2024

April 28, 2021

US viewers will spend more on streaming video than pay-TV for the first time in 2024, according to findings from advisory firm Strategy Analytics. According to its report, US Subscription TV Forecast, consumer spending on traditional pay-TV services fell by 8 per cent to $90.7 billion (€75.2bn) in 2020 and will decline further to $74.5 billion in 2023.

By contrast, spending on streaming services (such as VoD and Internet-delivered subscription TV) rose by 34 per cent to $39.5 billion in 2020 and will reach $76.3 billion in 2024, passing pay-TV for the first time.

By 2026, the report predicts that pay-TV will account for only 40 per cent of spending on video and TV services, compared to 81 per cent ten years earlier. This continued shift in consumer expenditure is the most important sign of the transformation in the television and video business which is engulfing content producers, aggregators, distributors, and technology partners.

According to Strategy Analytics, growth metrics in SVoD usually focus on numbers of subscriptions, but this ignores what matters most – money. In spite of the many challenges it has faced, pay-TV still commands much higher monthly revenues from its declining base of customers than from any single SVoD service. Nevertheless, as more households add new SVoD services while cutting the pay-TV cord, revenues will inevitably shift further away from legacy pay-TV.

“The revenue picture gives the best illustration of the relative strength of new and old businesses,” notes Michael Goodman, Director, TV & Media Strategies. “The fact that viewers are willing to divert an ever-increasing share of their entertainment wallet away from pay-TV and towards new internet-based services demonstrates that the future lies with streaming video services rather than legacy pay-TV players. This is a long-term transition, but there is no doubt that the writing is on the wall for pay-TV as we have known it for more than 40 years.”

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