Advanced Television

Data: Over half US homes watching FAST TV

January 25, 2024

Evidence-based insights and consulting company Kantar has released its latest Entertainment on Demand (EoD) data on the US streaming market. Kantar’s EoD study uncovers the following behaviours and findings within the VoD market between October and December 2023:

  • Video Streaming has reached near total market saturation. By December 2023, 123 million US households held at least one VoD service, representing 95 per cent of households.
  • Over half of US households now use a FAST service in the average week, as FAST continues to be the fastest growing streaming type.
  • Growth of both FAST and AVoD slowed in Q4, despite the Cyber Monday deals for various AVoD streaming services offered in November.
  • Apple TV+, ESPN+, and Prime Video saw the greatest absolute growth in subscriber share over the quarter among paid VoD competitors, aided by promotions, trials, and holiday spending.
  • Perception of content improved in Q4 as the writers’ and actors’ strikes came to an end. New content and content variety drove a greater share of sign ups in Q4 compared to Q3.
  • Yellowstone on Peacock was the most watched SVoD title in Q4 2023, followed by Netflix’s Virgin River, and Loki on Disney+.
  • The #1 go-to streaming service for content discovery continues to be Netflix, but Hulu and Max gained share as the #3 and #4 spots, respectively, in Q4.
  • Value for money is seen as the most important factor driving sign up to new video streaming, for the first time surpassing specific content as the most important factor. 

Streaming looks beyond top titles to drive retention

With near total market saturation, streaming services are finding it harder to win new users. Instead, services are looking for ways to add value to their offering in order to retain their subscriber base and prevent churn. Streaming services can no longer compete on only the newest title releases. They must provide additional value to keep users engaged.

How are streaming services proving their value to customers? Price is the obvious way to drive value, but in the wake of price hikes, streamers are looking to password sharing and the ability to create multiple profiles. The ability for multiple household members to have their own profile drove a greater share of new, paid subscription in Q4 than in Q3 2023, up 13 per cent in the quarter.

Diversifying content is another way to provide additional value. Services such as Prime Video, Peacock, and now Max offer live content such as news and sports. Streamers have become more satisfied with both sports and live news offerings over the last six months, while at the same time become less satisfied with the variety of original content and TV series. Sports helped drive the growth of both Prime Video and ESPN+, who saw the largest jump in paid streaming market share in Q4 2023. With the Olympics in 2024, there is likely to be an increased interest in sports in the coming year.

Brand ecosystems provide a strong link to streaming services

Brand ecosystems are also providing convenience and value to streamers. The ability to subscribe to another service as a channel add-on provides the convenience of saving the time it takes to switch between services. Channel add-ons, such as Paramount+ on Apple TV+ or Max on Prime Video, now account for 23 per cent of all streaming services, up from 20 per cent in Q3 2023. Apple TV+ has benefitted from this growth. The share of video streaming services accessed as a channel on Apple TV+ has risen 45 per cent in the last six months.

Brand ecosystems go beyond streaming channels. Prime Video benefitted from Prime Shipping in the Amazon ecosystem in Q4 2023 with Prime Day in October, Cyber Monday in November, and holiday shopping in December. Apple TV+ benefitted from iPhone sales in the Apple ecosystem in Q4 2023. There is evidence that linking a streaming service to a wider ecosystem is beneficial to the streaming service’s brand health.

When asked to rank their streaming subscriptions from the most to least important, the proportion of Prime Video and Apple TV+ subscribers who ranked each service as their #1 most important subscription in their streaming repertoire grew to their highest recorded levels in Q4 2023. 1 in 3 Prime Video subscribers say Prime Video is their #1 most important service, and one in four Apple TV+ subscribers rank Apple TV+ as their most important service.

Service importance and value are two of many indicators of future churn and retention. By understanding what value and importance mean to streamers, brands can make strategic changes to improve their retention. What drives importance and value are always changing. Tracking how streamers interact with and perceive streaming helps brands futureproof themselves in the streaming wars.

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