How many streaming video subscriptions do you have? Like the average US consumer, my household subscribes to three.
In my case, it’s Netflix, Hulu and HBO, but there’s over 300 streaming video services from which to choose. This leaves consumers with the freedom to piece together personalized entertainment experiences, according to Deloitte’s 13th Digital Media Trends Survey out this week. So what are the current trends? Here are some highlights of the results:
- Pay TV vs. Video Streaming: For the first time in the survey’s history, more participants have at least one streaming video subscription (69%) than have a traditional pay TV subscription (65%).
- TV vs. Streaming by Age: Nearly half (43%) of US households still subscribe to both pay TV and streaming video services. They turn to the former particularly for live TV news, sports and TV shows. While streaming services continue to experience strong growth, however, pay TV was basically flat.
Streaming video services are most popular among millennials aged 22-35 (88%) followed by Gen Z aged 14-21 (80%) and Gen X aged 36-52 (77%) versus 69% overall (aged 14 to +72). Over a third (37%) of millennials binge-watch every week and view an average of four hours in a single sitting. Seventy percent of millennials also stream movies weekly, while 40% do so daily.
- Streaming Music Services: Americans continue to subscribe more to music streaming services (41%), up 58% from last year. The report notes that some streaming video and wireless service providers bundling music streaming into an attractively priced package has helped.
Nearly 60% of Gen Z and millennials subscribe to music streaming services compared to 47% for Gen X and just 41% overall.
- Gaming: 30% of US consumers subscribe to a gaming service, while 41% play video games daily or weekly. Games are most popular among Gen Z and millennials: “more than one-half say they subscribe to a gaming service and play daily or weekly.” Respondents mostly use smartphones (34%) to play games, although Gen Z plays games on consoles (33%) a little more often.
One major growth area: eSports. Almost one third (32%) of respondents watch eSports on a weekly basis.
- Voice Assistants: Just 18% of respondents said they use voice-enabled digital assistants daily, and 42% of the time they are using them on home devices as opposed to smartphones (34% of the time). They are mostly used for playing music, searching for information, getting directions, making phone calls and setting alerts.
A few takeaways from the data:
#1 – This is why streaming video services like Netflix pay billions of dollars to create original content: 57% of “paid streaming video users said they subscribed to access original content.” That’s even more important for millennials as 71% of which said the same.
Another important point: Almost half (44%) of respondents said “no ads” were a “top reason” for subscribing to a new paid streaming video service. A higher percentage of millennials (49%) reported streaming from paid services, while 29% of the time they use free video streaming services.
Bottom line: three-fourths of consumers think pay TV has too many ads. Pay TV usually has 16-20 minutes of ads per hour, but consumers think it should be 8 minutes and stop watching after 16 minutes.
#2 – While consumers have the freedom of choosing from so many video streaming services, it also comes with some frustrations. The first we’ve all likely experienced: certain shows get taken off a platform, which is increasingly happening as more studios and TV networks try to launch their own streaming services. As an aside, late last year Netflix viewers were so upset that it was taking Friends off their platform that they made petitions to keep it on, some of which received thousands of signatures. Netflix’s response: pay WarnerMedia – which owns the show – between $70 and $80 million to keep the show on this year. Even then, WarnerMedia has the option to add it to their own streaming service in 2020.
Bottom line: about half of respondents are annoyed that they need to piece many streaming subscriptions together since their shows are spread out across so many services. They said it also makes it hard for them to find shows and movies. We can’t help but think there will be some consolidation in response to consumer dissatisfaction in the future as so many networks, studios, and companies launch their own versions.
#3 – My generation – millennials – and the one behind us – Gen Z – consume hours of video and social media content a day. That’s one underappreciated reason why tech companies are allocating so many resources to self-driving cars. Any minute away from a device is one less they can make money by advertising online or providing video content. Millennials and Gen Z are forming their consumer preferences now and will drive consumer behavior for decades ahead. Tech companies want self-driving cars to be ready as they age and grow in earnings power. Then instead of keeping our eyes on the road on our way to work, we’ll likely be scanning social media, watching a show, or browsing retail sites like Amazon.