One in Four Signed Up for at Least One TV Service During Pandemic

One in four U.S. consumers (28%) said they had signed up for at least one TV service during the pandemic, according to Hub Entertainment Research.

Each of the big four SVOD services has seen a three percentage point or higher increase since just before the pandemic began in February compared to July, according to Hub.

Meanwhile, pay-TV VOD and TVOD saw an increase of six percentage points and three percentage points, respectively, from February to July.

Moreover, consumers said they were likely to continue their same level of streaming TV service viewing, YouTube viewing and broadcast network viewing (especially for news).

“When it comes to the business of entertainment, people clearly intend to continue supporting the streaming TV services they’ve relied on for comfort viewing, the broadcast networks they’ve relied on for news, and the online videos they’ve used for needed distractions,” Peter Fondulas, co-founder and principal of Hub Entertainment Research, said in a statement.

With viewers spending more time watching TV, previews have become a stronger source of TV show discovery during the pandemic, according to Hub. The source is up considerably compared to last year as a method for discovering new shows, while with personal interaction more limited, word of mouth has dropped as a discovery source.

The data cited comes from Hub’s “Predicting the Post-Pandemic” study, conducted among 3,026 U.S. consumers, ages 14 to 74 who watch at least one hour of TV per week. The data was collected in July 2020.

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Report: Young Adults Willing to Buy PVOD Movies

Premium video-on-demand, affording consumers concurrent access to new-release theatrical movies in the home, has been resurrected from its deathbed by studios as a distribution alternative with the coronavirus pandemic shuttering movie theaters.

New data from Hub Entertainment Research finds PVOD is embraced by young consumers, with more than 60% of survey respondents (18-34 years old) indicating they would probably pay to stream a just-released movie.

That interest is nearly non-existent among older consumers (35+), with just 12% indicating interest and only 2% saying they would “definitely” pay for PVOD.

The data comes from Hub’s “Monetizing Video” study, conducted in June among 2,036 U.S. consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week.

Notably, price doesn’t appear to be an issue for young consumers when it comes to streaming a first-run film in the home. Assuming a price of $15 to stream, 67% of 18- to 34-year-olds would definitely or probably pay. The proportion is virtually the same (65%) at $25. Amazingly, a majority of young viewers (57%) would also be willing to pay $50.

“For younger movie fans … the strong preference for streaming for TV and first-run movies, has the potential to fundamentally shift the entertainment distribution dynamic, assuming the industry is ready to accept the collateral damage —to the pay television and theater industries,” Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

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Separately, 70% of respondents cited Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video as the best value for the money among all all streaming services. Among traditional pay-TV subscribers (cable, satellite, telecom), only about 40% said they get at least good value.

Respondents on average said they pay $94 monthly for pay-TV/streaming — about $22 more than they would like to pay. Traditional pay-TV subs are the most likely to feel their total TV bill is higher than what’s reasonable, according to the study.

Those who have a cable, satellite, or telco subscription — regardless of separate streaming services — feel they pay $29 more than they should be paying.

For consumers who only have cable, satellite, or telco service, the actual vs. reasonable gap is actually greater: They pay $37 more than they consider reasonable. With an actual/reasonable gap of only $6, consumers who have streaming services only — no pay-TV service — are the most likely to feel they’re paying the amount they should be paying.

“At a time of tremendous economic uncertainty, streaming services with deep catalogs of content fill a critical emotional need for consumers: The need to satisfy their home entertainment needs at a manageable cost,” Fondulas said.

Report: Millions Would Drop Netflix With Advertising

Netflix has steadfastly refused to insert third-party advertising in programming as Hulu does on its basic subscription plan.

New data from Hub Entertainment Research contends the SVOD behemoth could lose 23% of its subscribers if it added advertising, according to a June survey of 1,765 U.S. broadband consumers. About 41% of respondents said they would keep Netflix.

The SVOD pioneer ended its most-recent fiscal period with nearly 150 subscribers worldwide, including more than 50 million in the United States.

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Hub found more receptive respondents to ads on Netflix if the service also lowered the monthly subscription plan pricing. About 33% of respondents said they would accept ads if their monthly plan decreased by $1.

The percentage of ad converts increased when the monthly fee dropped by $2 or more with 53% saying they would keep Netflix and 14% saying they would not.

“The success of any Netflix ad-supported plan — whether to replace or add to its current offering — will naturally depend on whether consumers feel they’re getting a sufficient price-break return on their ad-viewing investment,” Peter Fondulas, analyst and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “But one thing is clear from these results: after one increase already in 2019, any attempt by Netflix to use an ad-supported plan as a reason to hike its ad-free price again could seriously backfire.”

Report: OTT Video Options Reach Saturation Point

With a Netflix subscription in every “pot,” followed closely behind by Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, over-the-top video household penetration in the United States has reached overload status.

New data from Hub Entertainment Research found that the average domestic household now has 4.5 sources of video entertainment, including pay-TV — a statistic that increases to 5.2 sources among younger adults and homes with children.

About 70% of 1,631 survey respondents with broadband use at least one OTT video service such as Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video, while respondents who use more than one service increased 7%.

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Netflix penetration inched up 62% from 61% last year, while Hulu use increased 8% and Amazon upped 5%.

Hub also found that 24% of respondents “have too many TV services” and won’t subscribe to a new service, which is up from 14% last year. Another 36% would cancel an existing service before adding another one.

“The TV landscape is approaching zero-sum status, with more consumers insisting they’d drop an existing service before adding a new one,” Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement, as reported by Advanced-Television. “That puts added pressure on all TV services — including those on the way from Disney, Apple, and WarnerMedia — to offer the type of value that consumers feel they can’t live without.”

“Viewers are watching content from more sources than ever,” said Jon Giegengack, co-author of the study. “That raises the bar for new platforms entering the market — but it’s a growing opportunity for platforms that can aggregate content from multiple sources. For consumers, simplicity is becoming a more important factor to consider.”

Report: Most Netflix Subs Unlikely to Cancel Service Following Price Hike

Another day, another prognostication how Netflix’s price hikes will affect subscribers.

New data from Hub Entertainment Research finds most subs will not stop service as Netflix ups plan pricing from $1 to $2. The Portsmouth, N.H.-based research firm said any impact on subscribers would likely occur among those paying $15.99 monthly for the premium plan enabling access to Ultra HD content and up to four screens concurrently.

Indeed, 69% of survey respondents said they would keep their current plan, while 16% said they would drop to a lower-priced plan. Just 9% said they would drop the service, while 6% said they would switch to a more expensive plan.

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Netflix, which no longer discloses subscriber churn, added 29 million subscribers in 2018 to end the year with 137 million.

Among basic subs, 76% said they would keep the plan, with 12% considering upgrading to more-expensive plan. Just 8% of standard and 10% of premium plan subs said they would drop Netflix.

Hub said 24% of standard subs indicated a desire to downgrade to the $8.99 basic plan, while 27% of premium subs said they plan to downgrade.

While 70% of subscribers have heard about the price hike, about 50% said they were unhappy about it.

Survey respondents ranged from 8% who said they were “angry,” 38% who said they were “annoyed,” 39% who were “accepting,” and 15% who were “positive.”

“This research shows that Reed Hastings is right when he says that consumers choose based on value, not just price,” Jon Giegengack, principal at Hub, said in a statement. “Despite the increase, the great majority of customers say they’ll keep their subscription. However, the fact that half are unhappy shows that Netflix can’t raise prices indefinitely, and that higher fees make delivering on the promise of high-quality exclusive content more important than ever.”

Among standard (51%) and premium (44%) subs, they were more likely to be “annoyed” or “angry” about the price hike than basic (37%) subs.

“In some respects, the timing of the price hike announcement couldn’t have been better for Netflix, coming on the heels of its enormous viewership success with Bird Box, the buzz about Bandersnatch,and its strong subscriber growth in Q4,” said Peter Fondulas, co-author of the study. “But in an increasingly competitive SVOD marketplace, even a $1 to $2 price increase can lead subscribers to start considering alternatives.”

Report: Live TV Viewing Dropping in Popularity

Increasing numbers of consumers are shying away from live linear television as their default home entertainment choice.

Less than 40% of consumers in a survey now opt for live TV as their first option, according to new data from Hub Entertainment Research. That compared to 47% of respondents during a previous-year survey.

While alternative channels such as over-the-top video have appealed to younger consumers for some time, Hub found that the trend is moving to older viewers as well.

While most (56%) of respondents 55 and older still prefer live TV, that percentage has dropped from 66% last year. Among the 18-34 demo, just 26% watch live TV is their first entertainment choice – compared to 35% a year ago.

“We’ve been watching live TV drop steadily as a default source since we first conducted this study in 2013,” Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub, said in the report. “But this is the first year where we’ve seen a sharp drop among older consumers, which has huge implications for the monetization of linear TV in general.”

The report attributes ongoing declines in live TV consumption due to SVOD service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Indeed, the average consumer now has more than four options to watch TV content, including VOD, DVR, live, OTT – compared to slightly more than three options in 2014.

Among younger viewers, the number of TV viewing options tops five as at least 50% of viewers subscribe to two or more SVOD services.

That’s quite a switch from just four years ago when 45% of respondents said they preferred watching live TV, with 14% opting for SVOD as their first entertainment choice.

“As online, on-demand platforms continue to become mainstream, live viewing has become the exception rather than the rule,” Fondulas said.