Study: Consumers Worried About Too Much Choice, Increased Cost Amid Streaming Wars

As the subscription streaming wars heat up, most people (70%) believe that there will be too many streaming choices, and 87% worry it will become too expensive to keep up, according to a new study.

TV Time, an online tracking platform for TV and movie viewership, along with UTA IQ, UTA’s data and analytics group, conducted the study, “Beyond the Big Three,” to understand consumer sentiment surrounding the new streaming media landscape. The study focused on awareness, purchase intent, and the features and offerings that drive, or slow, consumer adoption. Conducted in September 2019, it surveyed 4,816 respondents in the United States and 1,818 total respondents in the Netherlands, Canada and Australia. The U.S. population results were balanced by age and gender (13-54).

Overall, a substantial number of consumers in the study said they intend to add one (42%) or two (20%) new streaming services.

Other key findings were:

  • After cost, the biggest frustrations were the need to toggle between services (67%), account setup and management (58%), and the inability to find content easily (45%).
  • People were willing to accept some form of ad-supported model (44%) compared to a subscription-only model (56%) if advertisements alleviated service cost.
  • Consumers valued library content more than originals. Almost all respondents (90%) characterized it as “important” or “very important.” This compared to 68% who shared the same feeling about originals.


Brand awareness findings included:

  • Disney+ and Apple TV+ had the highest levels of awareness (88% and 63%, respectively) among the upcoming services, followed by HBO Max (37%) and NBCU’s Peacock (28%).
  • Families (57%) were no more or less likely to subscribe to Disney+ than households without children (55%), illustrating the strength of Disney’s adult franchises.
  • Consumers were attracted to most of Disney’s library franchises with Marvel (77%) and Pixar (71%) ranking the highest. “The Mandalorian” followed by Marvel’s “Falcon & Winter Soldier,” “WandaVision,” “Loki,” “Hawkeye” and “She-Hulk” were among the most anticipated Disney+ original shows.
  • The intent to subscribe to AppleTV+ increased by ten percentage points when respondents were told about the type of content and talent involved.


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“In a television landscape that is experiencing such intense disruption, we are seeking to better understand how consumer preferences and attitudes play into it,” said Joe Kessler and David Herrin of UTA IQ in a statement. “It is indeed the Golden Age of Television, in that there are more great shows being made, more competition for eyeballs and ultimately, greater demand for creative talent, than ever before. Research like this helps us look beyond the horizon and make more informed decisions as we work together to navigate these monumental shifts in the marketplace.”

While the study found that Disney+ is currently best positioned for success, it does not appear that the platform will pose a major threat to existing services, as a majority of respondents (70%) indicated they were not “likely” or “very likely” to drop a current service if they subscribed to Disney+.

Subscription intent for Disney+ is somewhat lower outside of the United States, the study found, and varies significantly by country, at 56% in the U.S. compared to 49% in the Netherlands, 42% in Canada and 38% in Australia.

“While Disney+ appears well-positioned to succeed internationally, it may require additional focus in strategic markets to encourage people to subscribe,” said Alex von Krogh, VP of TV Time, in a statement. “It will be important to track how people engage with their programming from a global perspective and how that compares to competitors in those markets.”

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