Streaming ecosystem fragmentation causing chaos, frustration
Details
Joseph O'Halloran
| 24 June 2021
Even though the streaming industry continues surging, US consumers are feeling the pain of too many services to choose from and are suffering from fatigue as content is unpredictably fragmented across numerous, access-restricted streams a Horowitz survey has revealed.
HOrowitz 24 JUne 2021
The State of Pay TV, OTT & SVOD report noted that as the US continues to emerge and adjust to post-pandemic life, it was evident that the growth and disruption of the streaming revolution was continuing at pace. It observed that in the past two years alone, the industry has seen the launch of Disney+, Apple TV+, BET+, HBO Max, Peacock, and discovery+; the rebranding and relaunching of CBS All Access into Paramount+; the launch—and shuttering—of Quibi and TVision; and the exit of PlayStation Vue and the entrance of AT&T TV, the latest iteration of DirecTV NOW and AT&T TV NOW.

The data showed that streaming now supplants MVPD services in penetration and is closing in on time spent by viewers. The study calculated that from 2018 to 2021, SVOD subscriptions increased from 50% to 74% among TV content viewers. Meanwhile, the pandemic (with the pause on sports and its economic impact) accelerated MVPD subscriber loss. Over a third (36%) of MVPD subscribers have cut the cord within the past two years, up from 23% in 2020. Among those who have cancelled in the past year, 16% attribute Covid-19 as a key reason.

But given so many streaming systems to choose from, Horowitz said it was not surprising that consumer perceptions of chaos and their continued retention of, and perhaps nostalgia for, managed MVPD services. Furthermore, Horowitz warned that along with dominance came accountability. It emphasised that consumers were already feeling the pain of chaos from a surfeit of streaming services and fatigue as content was unpredictably fragmented across numerous, access-restricted streams.

Half of TV content viewers in the Horowitz survey felt that there were too many streaming services (50%). New players, including industry giants Discovery and NBCUniversal, have entered an already-crowded landscape with their own direct-to consumer services, which is ultimately resulting in less content from major media brands available on streaming stalwarts such as Netflix.

Streamers were also struggling to keep connected to their favourite content: 49% of TV content viewers say they find it hard to know what shows are on which streaming services, and 44% say they often have a hard time something to watch at all.

“We are at a very interesting, pivotal moment,” said Adriana Waterston, SVP of insights and strategy for Horowitz, commenting on the State of Pay TV, OTT & SVOD report. “In the early days of streaming, many media companies were concerned that their network brands no longer mattered in the new ecosystem, with so much content from so many networks consolidated and commoditised under the Netflix umbrella. With this shift towards a direct-to-consumer approach, brands matter once again—a win-win for driving both subscription and advertising revenue.”