Streaming Facing Headwinds, Say Speakers at DEG’s EnTech Fest

The boom in streaming is hitting some headwinds, according to speakers at a May 4 research presentation during DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s EnTech Fest 2022 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles.

“SVOD was really the winner of the pandemic period,” said the NPD’s Elizabeth Lafontaine. In-home entertainment “drove the entertainment industry over the past few years,” she noted.

“As we’ve gotten into 2022 many of these industries have started to soften, as experiences come back online,” she said.

Consumers are getting out and going to theme parks, traveling, seeing live shows, etc. — spending more on experiential entertainment. Experiential spending has returned to about 95% of what it was during the pre-pandemic period, she said.

“Experiential offerings are typically much more expensive, so it is going to eat into some of the other entertainment demand,” she noted.

As they get out, consumers are not engaging as much with SVOD, but “we’re still seeing engagement levels higher than the pre-pandemic period,” she said.

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Consumers reported spending on about four SVOD services (3.9 on average) in October 2021, which is down about one service from that time in 2020 (5.2). “But we’re still above that pre-pandemic period,” she said.

For streaming companies, the question is how to be one of those four services consumers choose.

In the past year, services increasingly turned to original programming, especially with licensed content being clawed back by studios’ direct-to-consumer services. In 2021, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu saw lower inventory throughout the year as this licensed content was pulled. But in response Netflix, for instance, by the end of 2021 grew original movie offerings by 22% and original series by 24%.

“Netflix has committed to spending about $17 billion annually on original content,” she said.

Also, with increased competition in the space for consumers’ time and money, “bundling and ad-supported is giving subscribers who may not have subscribed before a new point of entry to these services,” she said.

Another way consumers are economizing on subscriptions is through churn, noted Deloitte’s Kevin Downs. A recent Deloitte survey found the U.S. paid streaming service churn rate averaged 37%. “It’s high,” he said.

The churn rate was even higher among Gen Z and Millennials, with more than half of those respondents either canceling or canceling and adding paid services in the past six months. While access to original content (39%) and a broad range of content (38%) were the top two reasons U.S. consumers said they were subscribing to paid SVOD services, U.S. subscribers said they’re canceling paid SVOD services due to cost (41%), price increases (30%) and lack of new content (30%).

A majority (60%) of consumers would prefer to have reduced cost, ad-supported options, Downs noted.

Significant majorities of consumers also said they were frustrated with finding content and having to subscribe to so many services to find it.

In addition to cost and content concerns, services also have to compete with time spent on video games — a pursuit younger generations in particular may find more appealing than watching TV or movie content, he said.

Whip Media’s Vince Muscarella and Kortney Kesses noted that, aware of the appeal of games, streaming services are targeting gaming fans by creating content from game franchise IP.

They pointed out that “The Last of Us,” a series based on the game scheduled for HBO Max sometime in 2023, is already gaining some traction among fans, reaching 16,000 interested followers on their tracking service well ahead of other big titles this far ahead of release.

“It’s probably going to be HBO Max’s biggest release to date,” said Muscarella, who admitted he is one of those eager fans.

“Other companies are going to start paying attention to video game IP for content,” he said.

Deloitte Digital Media Survey: Paid Streaming Service Churn Rate High, Especially Among Younger Generations

Paid streaming services are facing challenges. Churn is high, especially among younger people, and younger generations, especially Gen Z, actually prefer playing video games to watching video and spend a lot of time watching user-generated content rather than TV shows and movies.

That’s according to Deloitte’s 16th annual digital media trends survey. The U.S. survey was fielded by an independent research firm in December 2021 and employed an online methodology among 2,000 U.S. consumers. All data was weighted back to the most recent census data to give a representative view of consumer sentiment and behaviors. The survey was also fielded in the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil and Japan in December 2021 and January 2022. All data from the global markets was weighted to be nationally representative.

The U.S. paid streaming service churn rate averaged 37%, with 33% of respondents both adding and canceling a service and 4% canceling a service in the past six months. The churn rate was even higher among Gen Z and Millennials, with more than half of those respondents either canceling or canceling and adding paid services in the past six months. The trend also held true globally, with average churn in the international territories surveyed at 30% and younger generations more likely to move in and out of services.

While access to original content (39%) and a broad range of content (38%) were the top two reasons U.S. consumers said they were subscribing to paid SVOD services, U.S. subscribers said they’re canceling paid SVOD services due to cost (41%), price increases (30%) and lack of new content (30%).

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While older generations said they prefer watching TV and movies at home, Gen Z respondents preferred video games as their favorite form of digital entertainment. About four in 10 (41%) U.S. consumers said they spend more time watching user-generated video content than they do TV shows and movies on video streaming services — a sentiment that increased to around 60% for Gen Zs and Millennials.

In the United States, 81% of social media users said they use social media services at least daily and 59% said they use these services several times a day, with younger generations (including Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X) leading the pack on social media usage.

In the United States, 80% of both men and women said they play video games, and half of smartphone owners said they play on a smartphone daily. Gen Z and Millennials said they play video games an average of 11 and 13 hours per week, respectively. Gen X gamers followed closely behind with around 10 hours of game play every week.

“While streaming video on-demand business models look much the same as they did when they were created 15 years ago, social media and gaming companies have quickly evolved their offerings, leveraging technology, and capitalizing on behaviors,” Jana Arbanas, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. telecom, media and entertainment sector leader, said in a statement. “Social media is free and available anywhere, anytime, offering both passive and interactive experiences with endless streams of personalized content, without the cost of a subscription. And more people are interacting and socializing in game worlds that host millions of users, brands and franchises, and major non-gaming events. SVOD companies aren’t just competing with each other for audiences, they are also competing with different, more social and immersive forms of entertainment.” 

Deloitte Report: 84% of U.S. Consumers Spending More Time With Online, Rather Than In-Person Entertainment

The vast majority of U.S. consumers (84%) are spending more time with online, rather than in-person entertainment, according to Deloitte’s just released Digital Media Trends Fall Pulse Survey.

Meanwhile, more than 80% of U.S. respondents in the survey conducted in August 2021 said they remain concerned about COVID-19 variants, and about half (48%) said they spend more time on online entertainment versus six months ago.

Among other findings in the survey:

  • Both Boomers and Gen X still rank “watching TV shows or movies at home” as their favorite entertainment activity; “playing video games” is still ranked as Gen Z’s preferred form of entertainment.
  • “Churn and return” behavior is most common with younger generations, with almost half of millennials (47%) and 34% of Gen Z canceling and then re-subscribing to the same service later.
  • High cost and completing a TV show they signed up to watch are the top two reasons consumers canceled an SVOD service.
  • 65% of consumers are engaging with at least one social media service several times a day.
  • 65% of respondents are frequent gamers, playing at least once a week; on average, these frequent gamers play for around 12 hours a week.

 

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The survey revealed that consumers are getting better at developing strategies to access online content while keeping their costs low. Among the findings:

  • 84% of respondents now pay for an SVOD service; the average household has four subscriptions — largely unchanged during the past year.
  • The churn rate — the number of people who have cancelled, or both added and cancelled, a paid SVOD service — has remained stable at about 38%, although it varies from service to service.
  • Many streaming video subscribers say they actively manage costs in some way, either by looking for deals or promotions, bundles, using friends’ or family members’ accounts, and other strategies.
  • Led by cost-sensitive and savvy millennials and Gen Zs, 65% of respondents reported using free ad-supported video services.

Deloitte Survey: 82% of U.S. Consumers Subscribe to at Least One Paid Streaming Video Service

The average U.S. subscriber has four paid video streaming services, and 82% of U.S. consumers subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service, according to Deloitte’s annual “Digital Media Trends” survey, 15th edition.

In addition, 55% of respondents now watch a free ad-supported video service.

Subscribers cite an increase in price as the biggest reason they would cancel a paid video, music or gaming service.

The online survey of 2,009 U.S. consumers was conducted in February 2021.

Streaming music subscribers pay for an average of two paid music services, and those who subscribe to gaming services pay for an average of three.

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For Generation Z, playing video games is their No. 1 favorite entertainment activity (26%), followed by listening to music (14%), browsing the Internet (12%), and engaging on social platforms (11%). Only 10% of Generation Z say that watching TV or movies at home is their favorite form of entertainment (which is No. 1 for all other generations).

Watching TV and movies at home continues to be the overall favorite entertainment option, with 57% ranking it in their top three (out of 16 entertainment activities). However, only 10% of Generation Z say that watching TV or movies at home is their No. 1 favorite form of entertainment. Playing video games is Generation Z’s favorite entertainment choice (26%), followed by listening to music (14%). Watching TV and movies was their fifth choice for entertainment.

When asked what factors caused people to cancel a paid video, music or gaming service, an increase in price was the biggest reason.

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However, from October 2020 to February 2021, Deloitte found that the churn rate for streaming video services is still hovering around 37%.

Other findings include:

  • Content (35%) and cost (46%) are the most important factors in deciding to subscribe to a new paid streaming video service.
  • Fifty-two percent find it difficult to access content across so many services, and 49% are frustrated when a service doesn’t make good recommendations for them.
  • Fifty-three percent of those surveyed are frustrated by needing multiple service subscriptions to access the content they want.
  • Sixty-six percent get frustrated when content they want to watch is removed from a service.

 

“Not only are American consumers more reliant than ever on digital media and entertainment, information gathering and social connection, there is also more competition for audiences among a crowded field of entertainment options,” Kevin Westcott, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. technology, media and telecom leader, said in a statement. “This requires consumers to ‘dance’ between services introducing frustrations as they try to manage multiple subscriptions and keep track of their favorite content. Media and entertainment companies with a deeper understanding of customer concerns about content, cost and ad-tolerance across all entertainment options and generations, can cultivate long-term relationships and reduce churn.”

Generation Z has strikingly different entertainment preferences, often seeking video games and music over watching TV and movies — unlike older consumers who are “video first,” according to the survey. As early adopters, Generation Z may actually influence the behaviors of Millennials and Generation X — and possibly younger generations that follow them, according to Deloitte.

Findings about content preferences include:

  • Eighty-seven percent of Generation Z are playing video games daily or weekly on devices such as smartphones, gaming consoles and computers.
  • A strong majority of Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X agree that during the pandemic video games have helped them stay connected to other people and get through difficult times.
  • Close to half (46%) say that video games have taken away from other entertainment time.
  • For all generations, listening to music is a top-three favorite entertainment activity. Around 60% of respondents have a paid streaming music service, and the same amount have used a free, ad-supported music service.
  • For those who pay, the library of music was the primary reason, followed by an ad-free and reasonably priced experience. For those using a free, ad-supported music service, zero cost was the primary reason, followed by ease of access and a broad range of content.

 

Social media is a gateway to entertainment and information, but trust is a concern, according to survey respondents. Beyond connection and sharing, social media services have become a gateway for consuming music, video, games and news. However, there is tension between the value that consumers get from social media and the challenges of establishing trust, responsibility for content and the role of regulation. Consumers value social media, but they want more control over their data, and information that is more trustworthy.

Findings about social media include:

  • Half of Generation Z rank social media as the No. 1 way they prefer to get news, whereas only 12% prefer to get news from network or cable TV. Conversely, 58% of Boomers say they prefer news on network or cable TV, and only 8% look to social media first for news stories.
  • While more people, across generations, go to social media for news, 67% don’t trust the news they see on these services.
  • For Generation Z, the top two activities on social media are listening to music, followed by playing video games.
  • Consumers are divided around the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election; 43% of respondents felt that social media companies did a good job managing misinformation, while conversely 44% of respondents felt that they could have done more.
  • Seventy-seven percent of respondents believe that the government must do more to regulate data collection and use.
  • Forty-five percent said they are willing to pay for social media if it didn’t collect their data.

 

“It’s clear that consumers like the convenience of social media as a delivery platform for everything from entertainment to news, however they also want to trust that social media companies are committed to distributing truthful, reliable information while protecting their own personal data,” Jana Arbanas, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. telecom, media and entertainment sector leader, said in a statement. “By building trusted and equitable relationships with consumers that address the need for more transparency, agency, privacy and security, social media services can continue to build on their success as dependence on their platforms continues to grow.”

As more consumers use advertising supported digital entertainment services, ad-related preferences and expectations around personalization and privacy vary across consumer segments and media, according to the survey. Some people welcome ads as a way to get more content while managing costs, building their own set of go-to services; others will do whatever they can to avoid advertising.

Findings about ads include:

  • Forty percent of U.S. consumers note that they would prefer to pay $12 a month for a streaming video service with no ads, versus 60% of consumers who would accept some ads for a reduction in monthly subscription costs.
  • Forty-five percent of consumers agreed they would rather pay than have ads on their music streaming service. For Millennials, 67% say they would rather pay.
  • For those that subscribe to a gaming service, adding or increasing the amount of advertising are the top reasons they would most likely cancel or stop using a paid service.
  • Younger generations say that social media influencers and ads on social media are the two most persuasive channels influencing their buying decisions (55% of Generation Z and 66% of Millennials say that ads on social media are influential versus 49% of Generation X and 13% of Boomers).
  • Sixty-two percent of Generation Z and 72% of Millennials would rather see ads personalized to their likes and activity than generic ones. However, only 40% of consumers overall said they would be willing to provide more personal information to receive advertising targeted to their interests.
  • Forty-three percent of consumers (39% of Generation Z and 54% of Millennials) say they would associate content that included hate speech with ads that are displayed nearby.

DEG Expo on Feb. 25 to Focus on ‘Maturing D2C Landscape’

Josh Reader, president of Distribution and Development at AMC Networks, will be a featured speaker for DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s next DEG Expo, set for Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m. PT. Reader will chat with Looper Insights CEO Lucas Bertrand about marketplace dynamics for targeted direct-to-consumer services in 2021 and beyond.

The topic of the Feb. 25 DEG Expo is “The Maturing D2C Landscape,” with a particular focus on the targeted services landscape and the role connected devices play in the consumer experience. The program was developed with DEG’s D2C Alliance Council working group, which represents the global direct-to-consumer entertainment industry and supports its members to help create a robust marketplace to lead the new era of content consumption.

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In addition to the Reader-Bertrand chat, the Feb. 25 DEG Expo also will present a panel discussion on the connected device experience, with Susan Agliata, director of Business Development, OTT Partnerships at Samsung; Ben Maughan, VP of New Ventures and Strategic Business Development for TiVo (Xperi); and John Buffone, executive director and industry analyst, Connected Intelligence, with The NPD Group. Other speakers include Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and National TMT Leader, Deloitte, who will present research on subscription churn; Andrea Downing, co-president, PBS Distribution; and DEG president and CEO Amy Jo Smith.

DEG launched the DEG Expo series last year to provide its members and the industry with education and community building opportunities through curated virtual events offering diverse perspectives on topics relevant to the digital media industry.

To learn more about joining the D2C Alliance or how to participate in this week’s D2C Expo, please contact Shannon Gregory at Shannon@degonline.orgRegister for the DEG Expo: The Maturing D2C Landscape here. See the full agenda here.

Pandemic Insight: SVOD, Movie Transactions, Churn Soar; AVOD Ads Decline

A silver lining in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been a surge in home entertainment activity among consumers either on mandated lockdown or deprived of live and theatrical or venue options. Paid subscriptions are the dominant business model for streaming video services in the U.S., although competition from free ad-supported services is growing. Or is it?

The data is clear: SVOD services such as Netflix and Disney Plus have seen skyrocketing sub growth worldwide as consumer gravitate toward on-demand movies and TV shows. Upstart rival ad-supported VOD also experienced usage increases — and advertising declines.

Roy Morgan research in Australia found subscription TV services made large gains during 2020 with viewership soaring for the top five services compared to 2019. The strong increases across the board meant that more than 80% of Aussies (17.3 million), now watch SVOD in an average four weeks — up by more than 2.4 million viewers on a year ago.

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“Netflix remains the clear market leader in Australia and grew its viewership by 2.26 million (up 19%) from a year ago to 14.17 million viewers. Over two-thirds of all Australians aged 14+ (67.2%) now watch Netflix in an average four weeks,” read the report.

Media Partners Asia found that in Indonesia about 7 million people have subscriptions across the Top 10 services — up 3.6 million subs between Sept. 5th 2020 to Jan. 6th 2021. The research shows the top 4 Aussie platforms account for 83% of the total subscriber base with Disney+ Hotstar in the lead with 2.5 million new customers, followed by Viu (1.5 million), Vidio (1.1 million) and Netflix (850,000).

At the same time, ad-supported VOD saw a slight decline (5%) in annual ad impressions due to COVID-19 and the resulting fluidity in ad creatives and ad campaigns as the pandemic undermined content creation, according to new Canoe data.

“The lockdown measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 created a boost in viewership from March through May. Then, September through December viewing was impacted due to production shutdowns, delaying new fall-season entertainment content,” read the report.

Meanwhile, Deliotte found the pandemic has increased one-off content viewing among new SVOD viewers and slowed some churn among existing subs. The consulting giant found that among survey respondents who cut a streaming service since the start of the pandemic, 62% had signed up to watch a specific show and then cancelled once they were done. And they canceled quickly: 43% canceled the same day they decided they no longer wanted the service.

Overall, data from May to October 2020 suggests that SVOD providers may be getting better at demonstrating value to consumers. Those consumers who canceled due to cost fell from 36% to 31%, and those who left after a free trial or discount ended also decreased from 35% to 28%. By October 2020, 25% of subscribers had canceled a service and replaced it with another new service, up from 17% in May.

Notably, Deloitte found that 90% of respondents who paid to watch new movie releases at home said they would likely do so again — underscoring Hollywood’s move to offer new movies to consumers directly in the home sooner. Indeed, 23% of respondents said they would continue the platform if they could purchase new movie releases the same day they are released to theaters.

When Deloitte asked subscribers what would keep them from cancelling a paid streaming service, 27% said they would stay to see an exclusive new movie or series they were interested in, and 28% said they would stay if they could switch to a reduced cost, ad-supported tier of the service.

“In our January 2020 survey, only 20% of respondents who subscribed to a streaming video service had cut a service in the previous 12 months, but by October, 46% had cut at least one in just the previous six months,” read the report.

In May, Deloitte said 23% of respondents had added a streaming video service since the start of the pandemic, and 9% had added and canceled services. By October, 34% had both added and canceled streaming video services. The early part of 2020 saw greater acquisition, but the second half has been characterized by churn.

“While COVID-19 appears to have accelerated streaming video subscriptions, the dynamism we now see is likely the emerging characteristic of a more mature and competitive market,” Deloitte said.

Deloitte: Consolidation, Niche Content Key to Surviving Industry Transformation

In the rapidly evolving over-the-top video ecosystem, traditional media distribution has been turned on its ear as pay-TV, linear broadcast and packaged media are being supplanted by technology companies entering the media and entertainment space — many with original content.

From subscription streaming video-on-demand pioneers Netflix and Roku to e-commerce behemoth Amazon, consumer tech giant Apple and social media stalwart Google/YouTube, tech companies have forced traditional media companies and studios to reconsider their business models to survive.

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And in the midst of COVID-19, recovery from the pandemic disruption will likely dominate operational strategy in the near term, even as companies consider how to address the broader and longer-term transformations in media and entertainment.

New data from consulting giant Deloitte suggests mergers and acquisitions, in addition to content differentiation are keys to surviving media distribution in the coronavirus era.

Since 2014, more than $700 billion in strategic M&A deals occurred across media and entertainment sectors, highlighted by Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets and AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, including Warner Bros., HBO and Turner assets. Just as unprecedented change has forced companies to consider transactions — such as merging with a rival — that would have been unthinkable years before, Deloitte contends ongoing disruption may cause companies look to invest in areas previously ignored or out of their comfort zone.

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Globally, M&A activity in the broader telecom, media, and entertainment sector fell by 17% in the first half of 2020 compared to a year earlier, while value is 47% down. In the United States, the sector has been far more resilient, with volume down only 4%. But the 45% decline in deal value suggests that companies are looking at small and midsized deals following the megamergers, albeit with continued pandemic-related uncertainty also hampering valuations. Although the economic outlook will loom large, M&A deal pricing is likely to be influenced by demand for and supply of independent targets.

Differentiated Content is King

At the heart of media consolidation is access and control of content. With the arrival of more streaming services, and the heightened competition for talent and content, costs are skyrocketing. Since 2010, the number of scripted TV shows on domestic networks has more than doubled. And streaming services are now paying up to $20 million per hourlong episode— several times the cost of just a few years ago, according to the report.

With Netflix raising the bar on original content spend almost beyond the reach of most competitors, Deloitte suggests media companies differentiate by targeting niche audiences within their platforms. In Deloitte’s 2019 Digital media trends survey, 40% of paid streaming video users said they subscribed primarily to access original content. And this was up to as high as 57% for millennial consumers.

The report says media companies should focus on excelling in one or more of the following differentiators to remain ahead of the competition:

  • Providing differentiated content and programming, either at scale or through dominating a niche;
  • Controlling direct access to consumers through owned distribution channels, including direct-to-consumer(DTC)/over-the-top (OTT) alternatives, either at scale or through owning access to a valuable consumer segment;
  • Owning the capabilities required to capitalize on increased data and using it to boost profitability, optimizing proprietary data to develop better insights.

 

Acorn TV generated more than 1 million subscribers (paying $6 per month) while maintaining high customer retention rates based on offering mainly British TV murder mysteries, even as more diverse and more capitalized platforms struggle to achieve half of that subscriber count. AMC Networks acquired Acorn’s parent RLJ Entertainment for $100 million in 2018.

Disney’s streaming-driven acquisition of Fox, including the rights to the X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic — was a key step to accumulating premium content and expanding its digital presence through Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.

“A paucity of conventional targets may force companies to think more laterally about how to attain differentiated content,” read the report.

Indeed, news media businesses now view their back catalog of content as monetizable source material for video content, including TV series, documentaries, and even feature films. Similarly, companies have developed podcast programs into premium video content.

“These nontraditional sources of original content could provide targets for M&A in the coming months and years,” Deloitte wrote.

Survey: 80% of U.S. Consumers Subscribe to at Least One Paid Streaming Video Service Post-COVID-19

Eighty percent of U.S. consumers said their households now subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service, up from 73% pre-COVID-19, according to Deloitte surveys, and subscribers now have an average of four paid streaming video subscriptions, up from three pre-COVID-19.

Deloitte conducted a pre-COVID-19 survey December 2019 to January 2020 and a second survey in May following the onset of the pandemic.

Pre-pandemic, 27% of U.S. consumers said they planned to add a new streaming video service in the coming year; since COVID-19, 32% said they have added at least one new paid streaming video service.

Four-fifth of U.S. consumers have a streaming video subscription according to the 14th edition of Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey.

In perhaps good news for premium VOD, 22% of consumers — 30% of Gen Z and 36% of Millennials — paid to watch a first-run movie on a streaming video service during the pandemic. Of those who did, 90% said they would likely do so again. Of those who did not, 42% of consumers said it was too expensive.

Other findings include:

  • Nearly 70% of Boomers now have a paid streaming video subscription.
  • For nearly a quarter of subscribers, a free or discounted rate was a big factor in choosing a paid streaming video service.
  • Subscribers are drawn to streaming video services with a broad range of shows and movies (51%) and content they can’t get anywhere else (45%) — both originals and old favorites.
  • In the earlier survey, 20% of streaming video subscribers canceled at least one service in the past year. Since the pandemic began, 17% of subscribers have already cancelled a service.
  • High costs (36%) and expiring discounts or free trials (35%) were cited as the top reasons for cancellation.

 

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“To win subscribers rapidly, many streaming video services are offering low introductory rates and free trials,” Dr. Jeff Loucks, executive director of Deloitte Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Deloitte LLP, said in a statement. “But with cheap trials and easy cancellations, consumers can binge watch their favorite shows, drop the subscription, and then return when the next season launches. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, streaming services have attracted more subscribers than ever. The biggest challenge for providers will likely be to retain customers once their series is over and the full price kicks in. Free ad-supported streaming could gain market share from paid services as budgets tighten.”

During the pandemic, nearly half (47%) of consumers cited using at least one free ad-supported streaming video service. More U.S. consumers want access to cheaper, ad-supported streaming video options, both before (62%) and since the COVID-19 pandemic (65%), while 35% of consumers don’t want ads and will pay to avoid them. Gen Z and Millennials are more likely than older generations to prefer the subscription-only model they grew up with; Boomers and Matures like the ad-only option that closely resembles TV.

Also during the pandemic, 38% of consumers said they have tried a new digital activity or subscription for the first time. The most popular activities were viewing live streamed events and watching video with others through a social platform, Web application, or video conference. More than two-thirds of consumers said they are likely to continue their new activity or subscription.

DEG’s New ‘4 Cups of Coffee’ Mentoring Program

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group on June 5 kicked off a new mentoring program, “4 Cups of Coffee,” at the “Cocktails & Coffee” event at Sony  Studios in the Norman Lear Commissary. Under the program, the DEG’s Canon Club will match women in search of mentors with one of its advisors or other women executives for 30-minute career conversations, either in person or over the phone, up to four times per year. The Canon Club was established by DEG to provide women at all levels and in all sectors of digital media the opportunity to share knowledge and build their business networks. Last month, the DEG announced the appointment of 10 advisory board members to provide input on Canon Club event programming, rotate as host at speaker-driven salons and social/networking events, serve as founding mentors in the “4 Cups of Coffee” program, and judge the annual Hedy Lamarr Awards for Women in Entertainment and Technology, among other responsibilities. The advisory board is led by chair Robin Tarufelli of Deloitte, and vice chair Meri Hassouni of Giant Interactive. Other members are Loren Nielsen, DTS; Sofia Chang, HBO; Dametra Johnson-Marletti, Microsoft; Karin Gilford, Movies Anywhere; Andrea Downing, PBS Distribution; Cheryl Goodman, Sony Electronics; Nadia Haney, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment; and Darcy Antonellis, Vubiquity. Other Canon Club mentors include Beth Kearns, 20th Century Fox; Heathyr Jozel-Garcia, ABC Studios; Samara Winterfeld, DTS; Ken Williams, ETC@USC; Kejo Swingler, HBO; and Rachel Crang, Paramount Pictures.

Survey: Almost Half of Consumers Frustrated by Growing Number of Entertainment Subs and Services

Nearly half of consumers (47%) are frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch the entertainment they want, according to Deloitte’s 13th edition of the “Digital Media Trends survey.” Meanwhile, more than half of consumers (57%) express frustration when content disappears from their streaming libraries.

While consumers know exactly what they want to watch (69% of the time), they also expressed frustrations with content discovery across platforms:

  • Forty-three percent of consumers give up on the search for content if they can’t find it in a few minutes;
  • Forty-eight percent say content is hard to find across multiple services;
  • Nearly half (49%) say the sheer amount of content available makes it hard to choose what to watch.

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Consumers are also increasingly wary of how companies handle their data, with 82% citing they don’t believe companies do enough to protect their personal data, according to the study. Conversely, consumers overwhelmingly believe they are responsible for protecting (49%) and owning (88%) their data. Very few respondents (7%) believe that the government should play a role in protecting their data.

While streaming services may be frustrating to consumers, the survey also found consumer dissatisfaction with high volumes of advertising, pushing them away from pay TV.

  • Three quarters (75%) of consumers say they would be more satisfied with their pay-TV service if there were fewer ads, and 77% indicated ads on pay TV should be under 10 seconds;
  • Eighty-two percent believe there is excessive repetition of ads;
  • Forty-four percent of consumers cited “no ads” as a top reason to subscribe to a new paid streaming service;
  • While consumers indicated eight minutes per hour of ads as the right amount, they also report that 16 minutes or more is when they would stop watching.

“With more than 300 over the top video options in the U.S., coupled with multiple subscriptions and payments to track and justify, consumers may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue,'” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. telecom and media and entertainment leader, Deloitte LLP, in a statement. “As media companies and content owners wrestle with how to retain and grow their subscriber base, they should not only continue to strengthen their content libraries, quality, distribution and value, but also keep a close eye on consumer frustrations, including advertising overload and data privacy concerns.”

The average U.S. consumer now subscribes to three streaming video services, with 43% of consumers subscribing to both streaming and traditional pay television (TV) services, according to the study, which noted strong growth in streaming video subscription services (69%) and streaming music services (41%). Pay TV remained relatively flat with 65% of U.S. households subscribing, and 29% paying for live TV streaming services. High-quality, original content continues to be a dominant factor in streaming video growth, with 57% of current U.S. streaming consumers (and 71% of millennials, ages 22-35) subscribing to streaming video services to access original content.

The survey also found that 37% of U.S. millennials binge-watch every week, watching an average of four hours in a single sitting. Consumers also continue to spend more time streaming video from their paid services (46%) versus free video streaming services (29%). Consumers are not only binge-watching in high numbers, they are also streaming movies, with 70% of millennials reporting they stream movies weekly, and 40% doing so daily. Social media remains supreme with millennials (54%) in the search for new TV shows.