Americans Subscribe to an Average of 3 Streaming Video Services

Posted on March 21, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Smart Home with 20 Comments

The latest Deloitte Digital Media Trends report claims that the average American subscribes to three streaming video services, the same as last year.

“Americans are doing it their way, tethering together their own assortment of services from various providers to get what they want, when they want it,” the report notes. “They appreciate having so many choices, but with three subscriptions services as the average, many say having to piece together a variety of services is a source of frustration. What bothers them? The total number of subscriptions, the time spent searching for shows they want to watch, and when shows on streaming networks expire.”

The report suggests two contrary bits of data for Apple, which is about to enter this market with its own streaming video service. On the one hand, the aggravation and complexity of having to find something to watch across multiple services hints that Apple’s aggregation of services is a good idea. But on the other, Apple is also entering a market that is already crowded with choices, and all of them have more and higher-quality options.

Deloitte also noted that 43 percent of Americans pay for both cable TV and streaming subscriptions. I’m surprised that figure isn’t higher, to be honest: It seems like more Americans would pay for cable TV or its equivalent than not, and that of those, most would subscribe to at least one streaming service like Netflix. Further confusing: When you look just at the middle-aged Gen X audience, the figure actually rises to 52 percent.

Looking at smart speakers, Deloitte claims a 140 percent increase year-over-year, with 36 percent of U.S. households now using a smart speaker, up from 15 percent in 2018. “Voice will invade everything, from TVs to home automation systems,” the report says.

Gaming usage is also up, big-time: One-third of U.S. consumers allegedly watch some form of e-sports each week, a figure that seems wildly inflated to me. The figure jumps to 44 percent for Gen Z consumers. 41 percent of U.S. consumers play video games each week, and the figure rises to 54 percent for Gen Z.

Deloitte also looks at the impact of advertising on entertainment viewing, noting the obvious: Too much advertising pushes consumers away. “With ads [on cable TV] topping out at nearly 20 minutes per hour, 75 percent of consumers say that’s way too many, and 82 percent are frustrated by seeing the same ads over and over again,” the firm says. “What’s just the right amount of advertising? No more than eight minutes of ads per hour. After 16 minutes, consumers say they stop watching.”

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