Hub: Black Households Use More Video Platforms Than Other Demos

Black households are subscribing and using more SVOD/FAST streaming services, cable TV channels, as well as over-the-air broadcast TV than other demographic groups.

New data from Hub Entertainment Research found that 78% of Black households watch free ad-supported streaming television FAST, compared with 60% among other demos. Another 72% subscribe to Netflix, while 68% non-Black households subscribe to streamer.

Separately, more Black households (27%) add and/or cancel (21%) pay-TV  services than other groups at 18% and 14%, respectively.

Black viewers are also more likely to belong to the group Hub dubs “swappers” — consumers who both add and subtract TV services in a typical month. And when they do make a change, they are more likely to add or drop multiple services.

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With the video marketplace reaching maturation, and subscriber growth hard to come by, Black viewers represent both opportunity and risk for streamers, according to Hub.

And what are Black viewers looking for when they add a service? “Always fresh” content is the main draw for those who sign up for a new subscription, according to the report. Once again for this group, behavior corresponds with attitudes — they say they keep track of new series and movies, and they follow through by joining up for services that have them.

Hub found that while Black talent was more visible on TV in 2023 than ever before, 66% of Black viewers say they are not adequately represented on TV. Another 66% of Black consumers believe when they are shown on TV, they are often misrepresented.

Black viewers are the most likely to say there are more good TV shows today than there used to be, to try the shows a streaming service suggests, and take note of upcoming series and movies. And for this audience, behavior follows from their positive attitudes — Black viewers are the most likely to watch 30 or more hours of TV per week.

“Continue to improve the representation of Black people both on screen and behind the camera, and tell stories that better represent their experiences,” read the report. “Ensure those endeavors are communicated directly to Black audiences. Sincere efforts to cultivate the loyalty of Black viewers can pay off in reduced subscriber churn.”

Comcast Lost 487,000 Q1 Pay-TV Subs, Almost 2 Million Subs Over the Past 12 Months

Comcast April 25 reported a loss of 487,000 pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) to end the fiscal period with 13.6 million cable subscribers, compared with 15.5 million subs in the previous-year period. The former No. 1 cable TV operator lost almost 2 million subscribers over the past 12 months.

At the same time, Comcast lost 65,000 high-speed internet subscribers, to end the fiscal period with 32.2 million broadband subs. The company added 5,000 broadband subscribers in the previous-year period. Over the past 12 months on the fiscal calendar, Comcast has lost 136,000 broadband subscribers.

The company’s lone bright spot was increased customer connectivity speeds due to the rollout of a fiber-based network across 60 million homes and businesses across the country.

“We grew broadband average revenue per user (ARPU) more than 4%, delivered 7% revenue growth in our connectivity businesses, and expanded our adjusted pre-tax earnings margin across connectivity & platforms,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

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Ampere: U.S. Streaming Revenue to Top Pay-TV in 2024

The addition of ad-supported tiers to subscription streaming platforms is projected to help total U.S. SVOD revenue top pay-TV subscription revenue for the first time in the upcoming third quarter, ending Sept. 30, according to analysis from Ampere Analysis.

Streaming will continue to grow as traditional pay-TV declines — with the value of pay-TV in 2028 expected to fall to half the value it saw at its peak in 2017.

While SVOD subs in the U.S. overtook pay-TV subs back in 2016, streaming’s lower average revenue per user (ARPU), which currently sits at around 10% of pay-TV, means that streaming revenue is only now catching up.

With a slowdown in the growth of SVOD subs in the United States and the United Kingdom, the new focus is on revenue growth — driven by advertising. As a result, the introduction of cheaper ad tiers has not only been successful in increasing sub growth in mature markets, but also as an additional revenue source. Revenue from ad tiers will pass $9 billion in the United States this year, according to Ampere, bolstered by Prime Video inserting ads this quarter.

Hybrid advertising tiers, along with increasing clamp-downs on password sharing among SVOD account holders, have been successful at reigniting growth in the streaming market, according to Ampere.

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Disney and Charter’s recent deal in the United States, which gave almost 15 million Charter subscribers access to the Disney+ ad-supported tier, shows how the two businesses can work together to maximize streaming’s reach to domestic subscribers, and highlights the importance of traditional distribution platforms as service aggregators, according to Ampere.

“Longer term contracts and the reduction in churn makes this an attractive proposition for streamers, while control over the billing relationship also means there’s something in it for the pay-TV provider,” senior analyst Rory Gooderick said in a statement.

Digital TV Research: U.S. Pay-TV Market Penetration to Fall Below 50% in 2024

U.S. household pay-TV market penetration will drop below 50% this year, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The number of pay-TV subscribers in Canada and the United States will fall from a peak of 111 million subs in 2015 to 60 million subs in 2029, according to the data. The U.S. will lose 51% of its total pay-TV sub base (down by 49 million), with Canada down by 23% (3 million) during the period. North American pay-TV penetration will drop from 85% of all households in 2015 to 43% by 2029. 

“The number of North American pay-TV subscribers plummeted by 41 million between 2015 and 2023,” Simon Murray, analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “Subscription declines will slow, with a decrease of 10 million subscribers between 2023 and 2029.”

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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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Ampere: Global Pay-TV Market Penetration to Decline for First Time in 2024

Ongoing pay-TV subscriber loses in the United States are now affecting global trends. New data from Ampere Analysis finds that global pay-TV penetration (the number of pay TV subscriptions relative to the number of households) will see its first yearly decline ever in 2024.

This will follow pay-TV market penetration coming to 60.3% in the current fourth quarter. By 2028, global pay-TV penetration will have fallen by almost four percentage points.

In North America, pay-TV penetration has dropped almost 50% from a high of 84% in 2009 to 45% in 2023, caused by a combination of high subscription costs and competition from SVOD. Despite this decline, the annual revenue generated per user remains at more than $1,100, the highest across any region.

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Latin America has also shown large declines in pay-TV penetration since 2016. This is largely led by Brazil, which recorded a 10% drop since its peak pay-TV penetration of 42% in 2016. Although North America and Latin America are driving the declines, all regions globally will be in decline by 2025.

Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific region and Europe have seen the highest penetration of pay-TV growth in recent years, with large gains coming from China Mobile after it acquired an online TV license in 2018. This growth has mostly been driven by low-cost IPTV services, which are often bundled into broadband packages for a low or nominal cost. While these regions will also fall into decline after 2025, there are still some growth markets, such as Portugal, Serbia and Hungary, which are expected to see further growth in the forecast period.

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Senior analyst Rory Gooderick says the increased trend of bundling streaming with pay-TV offers a framework for traditional cable TV companies to transition their business into a streaming aggregation play, and stabilize subscriber churn.

“Despite the projected decline in the reach of pay-TV, cable and satellite platforms will remain a powerful force in the TV world, and important distribution partners for streaming products, as evidenced by the recent distribution deal between Disney and Charter in the U.S., which saw select Disney+ streaming services bundled into Charter’s TV packages,” Gooderick said in a statement.

Digital TV Research: Global Online TV Subs to Pass Cable in 2024

Online TV continues to gain traction worldwide despite remaining relatively stagnant in the United States. New data from Digital TV Research found that online TV will add 36 million subscribers between 2023 and 2029, to take its total to 412 million. IPTV overtook satellite TV subscribers in 2018 and is expected to overtake cable in 2024, according to the research group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

YouTube TV is the largest online TV  service in the United States with more than 6.3 million subscribers, followed by Hulu + Live TV  with more than 4 million subs.

“[Online TV] is the pay-TV winner,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

The number of pay-TV subscribers across 138 countries will remain at just under 1 billion, with a slight annual decline until 2025, followed by a recovery thereafter.

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Global pay-TV penetration will reach 56% of all TV households by the end of 2023, falling slightly to 54% by the end of 2029. Through 2029, 82 countries will add pay-TV subs and 56 countries will lose subscribers. The United States will be the biggest loser — down by 10 million subscribers.

Digital TV Research: Global Pay-TV Subscriptions Remain Resilient

Pay-TV subscription may be freefalling in the United States, but worldwide legacy television distribution remains resilient. Global pay-TV penetration will reach 56% of TV households by the end of 2023, falling slightly to 54% by the end of 2029, according to analysis from Digital TV Research.

Analyst Simon Murray contends the market growth going forward will be driven by online TV, with the distribution channel adding 36 million subscribers between 2023 and 2029 to take its total to 412 million.

“IPTV overtook satellite TV subscribers in 2018, and will overtake digital cable in 2024,” Murray said in a statement.

Meanwhile, between 2023 and 2029, 82 countries will add pay-TV subscribers and 56 countries will lose subscribers. The United States will be the biggest loser — down by 10 million subscribers, according to DTVR.

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Streaming Video Supplants Cable/Satellite Viewing in Vizio TV Households

A majority of Vizio smart TV owners now stream video entertainment rather than access legacy cable or satellite TV distribution, according to new data from Inscape, which tracks ACR data from millions of Vizio TVs.

Looking at the second fiscal quarter over the past three years, streaming has captured 9.7% of viewing share from cable/satellite for U.S. TV households, according to the report. As a result, streaming’s share of viewing has increased from 44.1% in Q2 2021 to 53.8% in Q2 2023. Meanwhile, cable/satellite’s share has fallen from 46.9% to 37.1% during the same period, while gaming and over-the-air antennae viewing share has remained relatively consistent during this time.

A rise in availability and consumer usage of streaming apps and free ad-supported TV (FAST) services has made streaming the “new normal” in media consumption, according to Inscape. This is also underpinned by the continued penetration of smart TVs themselves.

Indeed, by early 2022, streaming had displaced cable/satellite as the most-viewed TV source by U.S. households, according to Inscape. In the quarters since, it has steadily grown its share of viewing time and there are no signs of a slowdown.

The report found that FAST, which offers a free, easy entry experience across a wide variety of curated programming, continues to gain popularity among consumers. FAST viewing time increased by 70% from Q2 2022 to Q2 2023.

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“As the viewing landscape continues to shift, marketers, measurement providers and media owners alike need to understand where and how consumers are connecting in order to create and implement the best strategies to reach them and drive optimal business outcomes,” read the report.

Comcast Posts 543,000 Q2 Pay-TV Sub Loss as Offsetting Broadband Customer Gains Disappear

Comcast Cable reported a loss of 20,000 residential broadband subscribers in the second quarter (ended June 30), compared to a loss of 10,000 high-speed internet subs in the same period a year ago. The company ended the quarter with 29.8 million high-speed residential customers, the largest ISP provider in the country.

Comcast has always relied on broadband — the lifeline to streaming and digital distribution — to justify ongoing secular declines in linear television and pay-TV. That trend has slowly come to an end over the past several quarters.

While the company added 3,000 broadband subs in the first quarter (ended March 31), that paled in comparison to the 253,000 net additions in Q1 2022.

Comcast president Mike Cavanagh would rather focus on the 4.5% increase in average revenue per broadband subscriber, which helped drive broadband revenue up 4.4% to $6.37 billion.

“We’re the largest broadband provider … and we can effectively compete in wireless with a strong value-proposition to customers,” Cavanagh said on the fiscal call, adding that broadband features that include cloud-based X1 and Flex platforms.

“[This is] how we have been able to achieve near record levels of low churn, and grow ARPU consistently quarter after quarter,” he said.

Meanwhile, the nation’s No. 1 cable TV operator continues to hemorrhage legacy pay-TV subscribers — falling below 15 million subs for the first time. Comcast saw Q2 subscriber losses increase 4% to 543,000 from a loss of 521,000 subs in the prior-year period. The company ended the period with 14.98 million subs, down from 17.14 million subs last year, which represented a subscriber loss of more than 2 million over the past 12 months.