Report Claims Netflix Has Best Originals

With more TV shows and movies branded “original” on over-the-top video platforms, not surprisingly SVOD pioneer Netflix leads content offerings, according to new data from Hub Entertainment. The study explores what consumers assume about content labeled “original” and how the term influences viewing decisions.

“So far, Netflix has not only withstood the threats posed by new entrants in the ever-intensifying streaming wars — it has thrived,” Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Fondulas contends WarnerMedia and Disney’s moves to prioritize streaming distribution are reaping rewards and have the potential to significantly disrupt the TV service pecking order, including Netflix’s first-mover industry stranglehold.

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“What remains to be seen is whether this streaming-first strategy will transform HBO Max and Disney+ into Netflix replacements, or whether they’ll remain as Netflix supplements,” he said.

The data cited here come from Hub’s online survey conducted among 1,606 U.S. consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week. The data were collected in February.

Simply branding a show or movie as an “original” boosts interest in viewing, especially among young consumers. About 70% of 16-34-year old respondents say the term “original” makes them more interested in watching a show or movie than they otherwise would be — including 25% who say that term alone makes them “a lot more interested.” Older consumers are a bit less likely to be won over by the term “original” alone, but 53% of 35-and-older viewers still say the term boosts their interest.

From all traditional TV networks and streaming services, viewers are most likely to name Netflix as the TV source with the best originals. What’s more, Netflix wins by a wide margin: the percent choosing Netflix (29%) is five times higher than the percent choosing the second-ranked source (CBS, at 6%). Among 16- to 34-year old respondents, the margin between Netflix and the second-ranked source (Disney+, at 7%) is wider than it is among all viewers. But even 35-and-older viewers pick Netflix as having the best originals (24%), with no other source reaching double digits.
Even as Netflix continues to expand its original content catalog, viewers see no evidence of any dilution in quality — on the contrary, they’re three times more likely to think Netflix originals are better now than to think they’re worse. More than 48% of those familiar with Netflix think the service’s original shows and movies are better than in the past. Only 16% feel they’re not as good. The remaining 37% see no difference in quality over time.
For young viewers, the strength of Netflix originals helps make the service their most indispensable content source, by far. When asked to pick the TV networks or streaming sources they’d keep if they could only keep five, 44% of 16- to 34-year olds choose Netflix — nearly 20 points higher than second-ranked Disney+. Those aged 35 an older are most likely to choose CBS in their top-five must-have networks, although Netflix is tied for second with NBC and ABC.
Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+’s announcements about their 2021 exclusive content lineup strongly drove signups to each service. Among respondents who subscribed to each service in December or January and heard Netflix would be releasing a new original movie each week, 88% said that was a reason for signing up to Netflix — including 59% calling it their main reason for subscribing.

Among those who had heard that all 2021 Warner movies would be released on HBO Max on the same day as their theatrical release, 77% call it a reason for subscribing, with 48% saying it was their main reason. Among those who had heard that Disney+ would be the exclusive home for certain new films and franchise titles, 68% name it as a reason for signing up, with 21% calling it their main reason.

Hub said Netflix is well-represented among the 10 titles most likely to have driven subscription, but so is Disney+ and HBO Max.

Research: Consumers Flocked to HBO Max in December to Watch New Movies

Data from Hub Entertainment Research showed strong growth for HBO Max in December, thanks in large part to the Christmas Day release of Wonder Woman 1984.

HBO Max’s share of new TV service subscribers nearly doubled in December, Hub noted, with 13% of consumers who signed up for any TV subscription in December signing up for HBO Max. In November, that percentage was just 7%.

Among those who added HBO Max in December, 19% said they added the service to watch movies — including 12% who signed up to watch “theatrical” movies, according to Hub. The total movie percentage in November was only 3%, meaning December saw a six-fold increase in movies as a reason for subscribing to HBO Max.

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Although Disney+ didn’t see the same level of subscriber growth between the two months (new subscribers held steady), Hub found the reasons for adding Disney+ shifted dramatically in December, on the heels of Disney’s content announcement. Among those who added Disney+ in December, 12% said they signed up to watch movies; in November, the movie percentage was just 2%. In a new question asked in December, 13% said they signed up to watch exclusive franchise content (from Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel) — as frequently mentioned as “movies.”


Study: 33% of SVOD Users Sign Up Just to Watch One Show

Free access coupled with a pandemic has created a perfect storm of developments to accelerate the consumer shift toward subscription streaming video as the destination for consumers’ favorite shows, according to a new report.

Hub Entertainment Research, citing data from an October survey of 1,604 U.S. broadband consumers who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week, found a widening gap between online video sources and traditional pay-TV as the go-to platform for new shows.

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Hub found that 68% of viewers watch their new favorite shows online, compared with 26% from a traditional pay-TV source. Netflix continues to be the top individual viewing source for new content, with 38% watching their recently discovered favorite on the SVOD pioneer’s platform. That’s 18% higher than those who watch a new favorite show on pay-TV.

The report cited “dramatic differences” in how viewers discover shows they watch online versus those they watch on pay-TV — the latter typically driven by advertising, while favorites watched online spread organically from person to person.

Indeed, when asked how they first found out about their favorite online show, the largest percentage of respondents (33%) said they heard through word-of-mouth. For favorites watched through a pay-TV platform, the top discovery source (30%) was advertising.

“Online sources are now the clear go-to for consumers’ favorite shows,” Peter Fondulas, co-author of the study, said in a statement. “What’s especially astounding is that Netflix, by itself, is far more likely to be the viewing home for new favorites than all linear networks combined.”

Notably, when asked what streaming service offers more, less or about the same number of original shows as other platforms, other than Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+, half or more of respondents couldn’t venture a guess.

Among those who did have an opinion, Netflix was far and away perceived as the original content leader, with two-thirds of viewers believing that Netflix produces more originals than other platforms. That led to one-in-three respondents saying they signed up for a streaming service to watch a single, exclusive show — most likely from Netflix, followed by Hulu and Disney+.

About 74% of these single-show subscribers decided to keep their subscription after the show has ended. That left 25% of respondents who canceled service once they’ve finished watching the show.

“As new streamers proliferate and as word-of-mouth and social continue to strongly influence the discovery of online content, it’s becoming rarer and rarer for viewers to turn on their pay-TV set-top box when they’re settling in to watch the shows they’re most eager to watch.”

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.