Deloitte Report: More Than Half of U.S. Households Subscribe to Video Streaming Service

American consumers’ appetite for streaming video continues to grow, with 55 percent of U.S. households now subscribing to at least one video streaming service, a 450 percent increase since 2009, according to a report from Deloitte.

Americans watch 38 hours per week of video content (39 percent of which is streamed), nearly the equivalent of a full-time job, according to Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey. With more than 200 streaming video-on-demand options in the United States, the average streaming video subscriber is paying for three services, resulting in U.S. consumers collectively spending $2.1 billion per month on SVOD services. Nearly half (48 percent) of all U.S. consumers stream television content every day or weekly, up 11 percent year-over-year, according to the report.

The 12th edition of Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends survey provides insight into how five generations of U.S. consumers interact with media, products and services, mobile technologies and the internet. This year’s U.S. data was collected in November 2017 and employed an online methodology among 2,088 consumers.

The survey found pay TV subscriptions declined for the first time in recent years with 63 percent of households still subscribing to a traditional Pay TV service, down from 75 percent. Pay TV’s decline is especially pronounced among Generation Z (ages 14-20), Millennials (ages 21-34) and Generation X (ages 35-51).

“Consumers now enjoy unparalleled freedom in selecting media and entertainment options and their expectations are at an all-time high,” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. media and entertainment leader, Deloitte LLP, in a statement. “The rapid growth of streaming services and high quality original content has created a significant opportunity to monetize the on-demand environment in 2018.”

Pay TV is too expensive for what it offers, according to more than two-thirds of consumers. Nearly half (46 percent) of all pay TV subscribers said they are dissatisfied with their service and 70 percent of consumers feel they get too little value for their money. Among respondents who said they no longer have a pay TV subscription, 27 percent reported they cancelled their service within the last year. Furthermore, 22 percent of millennials say they have never subscribed to a pay TV service. Twenty-two percent of all consumers without pay TV say they don’t watch enough TV to justify the expense and another 19 percent say they simply cannot afford it. Fifty-six percent of current pay TV subscribers say they keep their pay TV because it’s bundled with their home internet access.

“As video streaming and demand for original content continue to grow, traditional and premium cable broadcasters will continue to rethink their business models,” Westcott stated. “Media companies are increasingly going direct-to-consumer with their own digital streaming services and snackable content. Ultimately, one challenge we see is that consumers may be reluctant to pay for exclusive content on top of their other paid subscription services and this may lead to some form of re-aggregation as limits on consumer spending could potentially hinder the growth of content platforms.”

This year’s data indicates a convergence of media behavior across three key demographics, according to the report. Gen X emerged as cutting-edge adopters of digital media, embracing the digital media behaviors already adopted by Gen Z and millennials. Deloitte calls this combined demographic group “The MilleXZials.” Other findings:

  • Seventy percent of Gen Z households had a streaming subscription, closely followed by millennials at 68 percent and Gen X at 64 percent, respectively;
  • About 70 percent of Gen Z and millennials stream movies compared with 60 percent of Gen X on a weekly basis;
  • Binge-watching behavior also witnessed a convergence among MilleXZials, with 91 percent of Gen Z, 86 percent of millennials and 80 percent of Gen X binge watching TV shows and more than 40 percent of millennials binge watching weekly (an average of seven episodes and six hours in a single setting);
  • Ninety-six percent of MilleXZials multitask while watching TV.

“Millennials were the first generation to embrace streaming media and watching video content on smartphones,” said Dr. Jeff Loucks, executive director, Deloitte Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Deloitte LLP, in a statemen. “Some hoped that as millennials got older, they would settle down and watch pay TV. Instead, their Gen X parents are acting more like millennials, using streaming services, watching TV shows, movies and sports on smartphones and binge watching.”

Lastly, consumers are increasingly concerned about putting their personal data online. The study found 69 percent of consumers believe that companies are not doing everything they can to protect their personal data. However, 73 percent of all consumers said they would be more comfortable sharing their data if they had some visibility and control, and 93 percent of U.S. consumers believe they should be able to delete their online data when they want.

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