Advanced Television

Research: Streaming’s advantage grows

November 11, 2021

Three key trends emerged from Hub Entertainment Research’s latest Conquering Content study, which tracks how consumers discover TV content – and the platforms they use to watch newly discovered shows and movies:

1) Streaming’s advantage as the home for favourite shows continues to grow: Consumers are now three times more likely to discover a new show on a streaming platform than on a traditional network.

  • Among TV viewers who have discovered a new favourite TV show in the past year, 75 per cent say the show they’ve discovered is on a streaming service. Only 21 per cent have discovered a new favourite from a traditional pay-TV source (live DVR or VoD).
  • The proportion discovering a new favourite on streaming has increased every year since we’ve been tracking viewing behaviours, while the proportion discovering from a traditional service has declined every year.
  • Netflix has lost some ground in the past year as the home for favourite shows, while the other ‘Big 5’ streaming services have gained.
    • Netflix is still the single most common destination for new show discovery, named by 35 per cent of viewers. However, after growing each year since 2017, Netflix’s percentage has dipped 3 points since last year.

At the same time, the percentage discovering a new show on one of the other top streamers (Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, or Disney+) has grown two points since 2020.

2) Exclusive content is a strong driver of new sign-ups: Four in 10 TV consumers have signed up for a streaming service to watch a single show or movie not available on any other platform.

  • The percentage signing up for a streaming service for one show only is up 6 points since 2020.
  • The good news for streaming services is that exclusive shows can attract long-term subscribers, not just one-offs: a solid 77 per cent of those signing up to watch one show end up keeping the service once they’ve watched.

3) FAST viewing has become mainstream: For the first time since Hub has been tracking, a majority (53 per cent) of TV consumers say they sometimes watch content from a free TV streaming service with ads, such as Pluto TV, Roku Channel, Tubi, IMDb TV, and the free version of Peacock.

  • That percentage is up a full 11 points since this time last year and 15 points since 2019.
  • Prevailing wisdom suggests that most consumers use FASTs for lean-back viewing: the streaming equivalent of linear TV channel surfing. But FAST viewers say that more than half the time, they tune in to a FAST to watch a specific show or movie they know is available on the service.

“Netflix knew what it was doing back in 2013 when it prominently branded House of Cards as a ‘Netflix Original,’” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “More than half of TV viewers say that simply touting a show as an ‘original’ makes them more interested in watching, which in turn leads them to sign up for fear of missing out. One burning question is whether viewers will similarly embrace ‘originals’ on FASTs like The Roku Channel (which this year launched a slate of original shows) – or whether those services are fated to be forever associated with older, nostalgia-friendly content.”

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