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Research: 6 content sources meet viewing needs

May 4, 2021

With all the top streaming platforms touting exclusive content, consumers feel compelled to sign up for multiple services, or risk missing out, according to Hub Entertainment Research’s annual Best Bundle study, which tracks the most popular combinations of TV services among consumers, and how well their DIY bundles meet their viewing needs.

Highlights from the study:

1)    The average number of individual TV services consumers use to meet their viewing needs continues to climb steadily.

  • The typical consumer accesses 5.7 different sources of TV content, including traditional pay-TV service, all available streaming services, and over-the-air reception through an antenna.
  • That number has jumped by nearly one full service since 2020, and is almost twice as high as it was in 2019.

2)    Close to eight in 10 TV consumers now use a streaming TV service, 19 points higher than the proportion who have a traditional pay-TV subscription (cable, satellite, or telco).

  • In fact, the proportion with traditional pay-TV has dropped 7 points since the same time last year.

3)    The percentage using any streaming TV service is up only 2 points since last year. But what’s led to the large jump in the average number of services: (1) increase in the use of multiple streaming services, and (2) greater adoption of free, ad-supported services.

  • 59 per cent of all TV consumers use two or more of the top SVoDs: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, or HBO Max.
  • The percent using two or more top SVoDs is up 8 points from 2020. Some of that increase is explained by the fact that HBO Max did not exist at this point in 2020, but it still demonstrates that consumers tend to add new streaming services without dropping their existing services.
  • Another reason for the jump in the number of sources: the percent using a free, ad-supported TV service (e.g., Roku Channel, Pluto TV, the free version of Peacock) is up 8 points since last year, at 48 per cent.

4)    Don’t expect the size of consumers’ bundles to shrink: one in 5 (21 per cent) say they plan to add new services in the next six months.

  • And among those who plan to add, a strong majority say they’ll add without cutting anything they have currently.
  • In fact, those who currently have four or more services, and who expect to add new services, are even more likely to say they’ll keep everything they have (78 per cent) without replacing anything.

5)    A bit over half of TV consumers feel their bundle of TV services meets their needs “very well”. But the other half aren’t completely satisfied.

  • With an average of nearly six TV sources at their disposal, nearly half feel their TV bundle meets their viewing needs only “somewhat well” (42 per cent) or “not at all well” (6 per cent).


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