The U.S. subscription VOD service market continues to expand with 85% of households now accessing at least one service, according to new data from Kantar. At the same time, SVOD pioneer Netflix’s domestic market share is eroding.
The proportion of U.S. households with SVOD service is up 2% from the previous-year period after two consecutive quarters of decline. This means there are now 109.4 million households with subscriptions as of December 2021.
At the same time, video streaming use is growing primarily due to free ad-supported TV (FAST), and ad-supported VOD, with FAST growing 4.9%, and AVOD use up 3.6%, and SVOD up 1.8%.
About 9% of domestic households accessed a new streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 8% in Q3 2021. Amazon Prime Video is the top destination for new SVOD subs for the third consecutive quarter, but its share is down 4% quarter on quarter.
The Netflix subscriber base is now below two-thirds of all U.S. subscribers, as penetration continues to decline — down slightly 0.5% in the quarter, despite the success of “Squid Game.” This represents a five-percentage-points year-on-year skid.
Indeed, stacking continues to grow among current streamers, with the average U.S. household now using 4.7 services.
With the success of “Yellowstone,” the most recommended content in Q4, Paramount+ market share of new users (now at 8% of all new streaming). Peacock, which has catalog seasons of “Yellowstone,” also benefited in the AVOD and FAST space.
Apple TV+, which saw growth due to “Ted Lasso” in Q3 and Q4 21, is now facing higher planned cancellation going into Q1. As FAST drives growth of streaming, users are expecting more from their free services, with original content and quality of shows increasingly driving sign up.
Kantar said the first quarter of 2022 can expect to see more fluctuation of subscribers as stacking continues to grow and planned cancellation rates are up across the board.
“Streamers feel they can get better quality content from FAST than before, which may have negative implications for paid streaming,” read the report. “As the U.S. passes the next wave of COVID-19, overall streaming screen time may start to decline.”