Parks: Streaming Video Executives Bemoan Data Fragmentation

As media companies push to generate positive cash flows for their direct-to-consumer streaming businesses, almost 50% of executives in the streaming industry claim they are lacking the data needed to make good business decisions, according to new data from Parks Associates.

Specifically, Dallas-based Parks found that fragmentation of information across myriad data points stymies executives’ ability to properly analyze and make decisions regarding increasing advertising, raising prices, and related bottom-line decisions regarding content acquisition and production. Indeed, 71% of industry executives say it is difficult to see all of their streaming-related data in one place.

“Nearly half of industry executives do not have the data they need, in the way they need it, to make the best business decisions possible,” Jennifer Kent, VP, research, Parks Associates, said in a statement.

Companies that own or aggregate television and video assets distribute their content across 18 platforms, on average, so fragmentation in their data sources creates numerous and ongoing headaches for them when trying to make informed decisions about their services and subscribers.

For example, 78% of streaming executives said content performance by title is or would be “very useful” but just 46% said that data is fully accessible to them.

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Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence, or AI, is seen as a possible solution to the aforementioned data issues. The need for media companies to manage, optimize, and predict content revenue performance across all distribution models, including FAST, AVOD, SVOD, TVOD, pay-TV, and broadcast, suggests incorporating emerging AI tools, according to Mark Moeder, president of the SymphonyAI media division, which markets software providing first- and third-party data-driven on audience engagement and content preferences.

“Access to accurate, complete, and current data is the cornerstone for making good business decisions,” Moeder said in a statement.

Parks is partnering with SymphonyAI to offer insight into the streaming market.

“Currently data is not optimized to enable informed decision-making, and these gaps are limiting the full potential of this market,” Kent said in a statement.

Parks: Average U.S. Internet Home Had 17 Connected Devices in 2023

The average U.S. household with internet access had 17 connected devices in 2023, according to new data released Jan. 10 at CES 2024 in Las Vegas by Parks Associates. The tally is based on consumer research of 8,000 U.S. internet households in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, 2023.

Among connected U.S. internet households, 66% have a smart TV, 42% have at least one smart home device, 31% have a security system, 39% have a smart watch, and 89% have a streaming video service.

Dallas-based Parks also found that for the first time, smartphone ownership surpassed TV ownership, with 90% of households reporting ownership of a smartphone compared to 88% with a TV. The firm reports that 92% of U.S. households also have fixed or wireless internet service at home.

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“Smartphones are ubiquitous now, and connected consumer electronics such as wireless earbuds, tablets, and smart TVs are commonplace,” research analyst Sarah Lee said in a statement.

Lee said connected devices are essential for entertainment purposes and daily personal communications, which can include school, work, and family.

“This necessity drives continued purchases, as every year CE companies roll out innovative and advanced models that drive the consumer desire to upgrade,” she said.

After a brief pause early in 2023, consumers’ enthusiasm for consumer electronics products rebounded at the end of the year. Purchase intentions for popular entertainment devices such as gaming consoles, streaming media players, and VR headsets have increased compared to 2022 and now resemble 2021 levels, which was the height of the pandemic.

“Economic conditions and fear of a recession previously stalled purchases of CE categories,” Lee said. “But higher intentions to purchase are likely a reflection of prolonged delayed gratification, the end-of-year holiday season, enticing retail promotions, and hope for continued economic improvement in 2024.”

Parks: Samsung Tizen Is No. 1 Smart TV Operating System

With 66% of U.S. internet households now owning an internet-connected smart TV, new data from Parks Associates finds that the most popular smart TV operating system is Samsung’s Tizen with 35% market share in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30, 2023).

The percentage is almost as much as the combined market shares of main rivals Roku OS, Vizio’s SmartCast and LG Web OS. Other significant operating systems include Amazon Fire TV and Android OS TV.

TV operating systems in recent years have allowed television manufacturers to begin offering ad-supported content to TV owners, including movies and TV shows.

“Leaders in the smart-TV category are those who are hardware manufacturers, smart TV platform owner/developers, and owners of viewership data — this allows complete control over the user experience,” Sara Lee, research analyst at Dallas-based Parks, said in a statement.

Parks disclosed the data ahead of its 18th annual Connections Summit Jan. 9 at CES 2024 at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

Fifty-five percent of households use their smart TV as the primary device for streaming video, according to Parks. Streaming media players remain strong as the second go-to device for around a third of households. Together, these two device categories account for almost 90% of household use.

“Smart TVs are the primary device that households choose to consume video, so they are in a prime position to function as a key interface for all systems in the home, from entertainment to security to energy management,” Elizabeth Parks, president and chief marketing officer at Parks, said in a statement.

“This trend is expected to continue as smart TVs become more commonplace and as streaming media players continue to be cost-effective solutions for a consistent experience regardless of hardware,” added Lee.

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Parks: Just 5% of U.S. Connected Homes Only Have Pay-TV Service

Just 5% of U.S. households with internet service only have pay-TV service, underscoring the ongoing consumer migration towards streaming video platforms, according to new data from Parks Associates. At the same time, the Dallas-based research firm found that the average annual industry churn rate for streaming services is 50%, meaning many streaming services are also struggling to keep their subscribers.

Parks contends that with 65% of U.S. internet households owning a smart TV, limiting their home entertainment just to legacy TV is a losing proposition.

“This platform interface serves as the entry point for many households to their content services,” Eric Sorensen, director, streaming video tracker, at Parks, said in a statement. ” Competition for attention is extreme, so in 2024, we will see increased consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions as all providers must find ways to innovate alongside the greater emphasis on profitability.”

Indeed, Parks says pay-TV operators such as Cox Communications are exploring options to get their products in front of streaming consumers with services such as Cox’s Neighborhood TV. The company is positioning this hyperlocal streaming service to expand its influences in its communities and as a gateway to attract consumers to its phone, internet, and TV bundle.

At next week’s CES trade show in Las Vegas, consumer electronics manufacturer LG will showcase MyView smart monitors, which enable users to stream movies, series and sports, listen to music and work remotely without having to connect to a PC.

TV station groups such as Sinclair and Hearst have also launched local streaming services to leverage the consumer appetite for local streaming content.

“The hyperlocal approach clearly attracts interest from consumers,” Sorensen said. “With the increase of AVOD business models, consumer adoption indicates that relevance is a key factor, namely consumers are likely to turn off services if the service and messaging are repetitive and irrelevant to them.”

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Parks Associates: The Whole Country’s Gone Broadband (Well, Almost)

A whopping 92% of U.S. households now have broadband internet access at home, according to a new Parks Associates report.

This bodes well for the future as streaming, as well as for smart home devices, particularly in the realm of security. 

“Consumers’ lives practically revolve around the internet and connected devices, and in all residence types, safety leads smart home product use cases,” said Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein, VP of marketing at Parks Associates. “Many consumers are also interested in convenience and automation and rate valuable benefits of smart home devices around monitoring, notifications, automation, and remote controls.”

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Parks Associates data shows that 42% of U.S. internet households own at least one smart home device, 66% own a smart TV, 20% own a video doorbell, and 17% own a smart thermostat.

According to Parks, there has been steady growth in smart home and security adoption over the years as U.S. internet households accumulate more connected devices through an increasingly diverse list of channels, from retail to service bundles to dealers/installers.

The research firm will host the 18th annual Connections Summit: Performance and Profits: Smart Home Strategies at CES in Las Vegas on Jan. 9. The day-long event, which starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m., will be held at the Venetian. The Summit features the firm’s latest research on the connected home, along with insights from leading technology and service companies.

Parks: 54% of U.S. Internet Homes Report Data Privacy Issue in Past 12 Months

Nearly 75% of U.S. internet households are concerned about the security of their personal data, while 54% report experiencing a data privacy or security issue in the past 12 months, an increase of 50% over five years, according to new data from Parks Associates.

The report comes after Comcast disclosed that upwards of 36 million Xfinity subscribers were exposed to a data security breach over a four-day period in October.

Parks said data security concerns impact consumer product and vendor choices, especially as the push for interoperability will enable smart home device owners to pick a unified app to control all their devices.

“Lack of trust is the top reason for smart home device owners to reject specific companies as their preferred unified app provider,” Jennifer Kent, VP research, Parks Associates, said in a statement. “Consumers are wary about how companies use their data, and they need reassurance that brands are accessing their data responsibly — before they sour on product and service offerings.”

Data security concerns are particularly damaging for property management companies and smartphone/smart speaker providers, such as Amazon, Apple, Samsung, and Google. Among smart home devices, owners who would reject these companies as their unified app provider, 42% cite a lack of trust in a property management company, while 30% would not choose a smartphone/smart speaker provider because they do not trust them with their data.

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“Smart home players must honor consumer concerns and double their efforts to secure their products,” Kent said in a statement. “Trust can be gained through transparency about partnerships and data access and through industry certification programs. When trust is honored, earned, and kept, it can be a competitive advantage.”

Parks: Netflix, Prime Video Have the Longest-Running Subscribers at More Than Four Years

Despite the ongoing challenges of subscriber churn affecting all streaming video platforms, industry pioneers Netflix and Prime Video have the most loyal subs — averaging more than four years with the services, according to new data from Parks Associates.

Both streaming services have consistently maintained the longest subscriber tenure over the past several years of Parks Associates surveys, and their average subscription duration increased by three to four months from Q3 2022 to Q1 2023 — more than twice the length of rival services such as Starz, Paramount+, Disney+, Max, Apple TV+ and Peacock.

The average Hulu subscription lasts more than three years.

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Netflix and Prime Video Have Longest Subscription Duration, Each Exceeding Four Years on Average, Followed by Hulu, Starz, and Paramount+









“Households are still experimenting with different services as they evolve over time to build their own service stack,” Eric Sorensen, director, streaming video tracker, Parks Associates, said in a statement. “Service consolidation has changed subscription dynamics, as Showtime has become part of Paramount+ and HBO is now Max, but even as consolidation occurs, it is having a limited effect on churn for these services. Premium service subscriptions average around two years, which suggests consumers are getting better value out of the consolidated content.”

Parks Associates: Prime Video Maintains Pole Position Among U.S. Streaming Subscriptions

Prime Video remains the No. 1 U.S. subscription streaming service based on the number of estimated subscribers through Sept. 30, according to new data from Park Associates. While Netflix ended its most-recent fiscal period with 77.3 million North American subs, Prime Video exceeded that in part because the streaming service is included with Amazon’s Prime ecommerce membership.

Amazon, which is estimated to have more than 200 million global Prime members, has not disclosed Prime Video subscriber data.

Parks found that in addition to Prime Video remaining ahead of No. 2 Netflix, Paramount+ moved ahead of ESPN+, and YouTube Premium pushed into the 10th position for the first time.

The research firm reports that 89% of broadband households have at least one over-the -top video service, 41% have used an ad-supported VOD service in the past 30 days, and 29% subscribe to eight or more streaming video, audio services.

“The market for subscription services is saturated, and consumers continue to experiment with ad-supported services as they evaluate their budgets,” Eric Sorensen, director of Streaming Video Tracker at Parks, said in a statement. Sorensen confirmed a continued shift toward free ad-supported streaming television and AVOD services, as well as the bundling of channels, services, and creative distribution partnerships.

Top 10 U.S. Subscription Streaming Video Services:

  1. Prime Video
  2. Netflix
  3. Hulu
  4. Disney+
  5. Max
  6. Paramount+
  7. ESPN+
  8. Peacock
  9. Apple TV+
  10. YouTube Premium

“Streaming services are seeking a sustainable, profitable business model in the midst of incredible change,” added Jennifer Kent, VP, research. “For the first time, all three tech giants with notable streaming services – Amazon, Google, and Apple – made the top 10 SVOD list, emphasizing the power of the new platform players. We expect prices to continue to rise and more aggregation and bundling as media giants stake out their role in the future of entertainment.”

Parks: Most New Streaming Video Subs Use Bundle, Third-Party Aggregator Options

As the growth of consumers subscribing to streaming VOD services slows, how new users subscribe to a platform is changing. No longer are consumers primarily subscribing through the service’s app or website directly. The trend now involves access through third-party service aggregators such as Roku and Amazon Prime Channels or via bundled offerings, according to new data from Parks Associates.

The Dallas-based research firm reports that now only 37% of households subscribing to OTT services in the past year went directly through a service provider. At the same time, the churn rate for OTT video services is holding steady at 47%. Churn is the percentage of subscribers who drop service.

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“Direct subscription has been losing ground to aggregation, and bundling is becoming more important,” Jennifer Kent, VP of research at Parks Associates, said in a statement.

Kent contends the churn trend underscores increased opportunities for marketers to target consumers through ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming television platforms such as Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Crackle, Paramount’s Pluto TV, Fox Corp’s Tubi, The Roku Channel and Amazon Freevee, among others.

Parks will be hosting its next virtual Future of Video session “Advertising and Live Content: Measurements and Investments” on June 15.

“Profitability has become a central concern for businesses in the advertising and live content space,” Mrugesh Desai, VP of North America at Accedo, and speaker in the upcoming session, said in a statement. “As the industry becomes more competitive, companies are seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and maximize returns on their investments.”

Parks: 85 Million U.S. Consumers Listen to Podcasts Weekly

New research from Parks Associates shows that upwards of 85 million adult U.S. consumers say they listen to a podcast for at least one hour each week. The research study, Podcasting: An Exploding Market, examines the impact of the rapid growth in the podcast market, including household audio equipment adoption, consumer behaviors across various platforms and genres, and crossover effects with consumption of music services.

The report found that smartphones are the most commonly used device for listening to podcasts and YouTube is the leading app/website used to access content. Almost half of podcast listeners are 35 to 44 years old. Notably, podcast listening declines for ages 45 and older, indicating that content creators are overlooking this audience segment, according to Parks.

“Audiences self-select to listen to specific content, and the most popular means to discover new podcasts is through recommendations by friends and family,” analyst Sarah Lee said in a statement.

Lee contends that more than 60% of current podcast listeners pay some amount per month for a subscription, including 15% who report using the the Spotify Premium service.

“Since people often find new titles by asking people with similar interests, content creators will need to make extra efforts to attract a more diverse audience,” Lee said.