Too Many Cooks: How Consumers Deal With Streaming Fragmentation
by Frankie Karrer4 min read
- 50% of TV content viewers feel that there are too many streaming services, and 44% of streamers say they often have a hard time finding something to watch.
- While 39% of streaming subscribers have canceled a service in the last six months, 55% have joined new streaming services.
- 59% of consumers are willing to cancel a subscription after watching their desired content.
- 2 in 5 Americans share their streaming logins with people outside their households.
With more streaming options than ever, how are consumers coping with the content overload?
Streaming Viewers Awash in Options
The past few years have seen the rise of many new streaming platforms, with every network and their mother joining the race to capture streaming audiences. But unfortunately, streaming viewers are now feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available—half of TV content viewers feel that there are too many streaming services.
CTV watchers say that they are struggling to navigate this increasingly complicated landscape in order to find their next binge-watch—LG Ad Solutions found that 45% of streaming users reported that their main barrier to selecting streaming content is that there are too many choices. Other top barriers include confusion on where to find content (40%), not having the correct subscription (33%), and that there are too many steps from TV to content (21%).
Another source had similar findings. According to a survey from Horowitz Research, 44% of respondents say they often have a hard time finding something to watch at all. In fact, viewers actually spend an average of 5.7 minutes between turning on the TV and actually watching content. And if they have already set their mind on a specific program, nearly half say it’s hard to find which streaming service has the show.
Factor in an uncertain economy—46% of CTV viewers report canceling a streaming service because of economic concerns—and you have the recipe for an extremely fragmented streaming ecosystem that can be both expensive and difficult to navigate.
Consumers Are Finding Ways To Combat Fragmentation
But despite all of this, viewers are still making a point to watch streaming content. While the fragmentation of the streaming ecosystem may have led 39% of streaming subscribers to cancel a service in the last six months, 55% have also joined new ones. That’s in part because it still can be less expensive than cable ever was. Often, consumers just like streaming content more. Around two-thirds of people aged 18-54 prefer the convenience and content available on Connected TV to linearTV.
So there are ways that they are dealing with fragmentation:
- Churning Based on Content Availability: Many consumers have been attempting to alleviate some of the financial burden of having ‘too many’ streaming subscriptions by hopping between them once they have finished watching a specific series. In fact, 59% of consumers are willing to cancel a subscription after watching their desired content. The last few years has seen SVOD services’ response to this behavior: offering more free or reduced subscription options as a way to entice viewers to stay on the platform. Of course, even with a perceived rise in this behavior, Deloitte reports that the churn rate for streamers has remained consistent at around 37% for the last three years.
- Streaming Platform Recommendations: We know that consumers sometimes find it hard to find something to watch in the growing world of streaming. But some viewers rely on their favorite streaming services to provide those content discoveries for them. According to the Horowitz study, 61% of streaming viewers responded that recommendations from streaming services have helped them discover content they would probably not have watched otherwise.
- Password Sharing: Currently, 2 in 5 Americans share their streaming logins with people outside their households in an attempt to cut down on the number of services their friends and family are paying for. The majority of people give their streaming passwords to friends (27%), but parents are also very likely to receive passwords from their childrens’ accounts. Netflix is the most shared service—over 85% of Americans share their Netflix password with other people. However, this method is likely to become more difficult as services start cracking down on password sharing. Netflix in particular is very aware of this password sharing behavior among their users, and has plans to charge their users for sharing passwords in the future.
Ultimately, the increasingly fragmented streaming ecosystem has caused many viewers to change their behavior over the last few years. While streamers may be tired of searching for content that’s spread out across a dozen streaming platforms, they still find these services valuable enough to make the effort. If you are an advertiser who wants to know how the fragmentation of the CTV market may affect your own campaigns, check out our explainer here.
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1 Continued Fragmentation of the Streaming Ecosystem Causing Chaos, Frustration for Consumers (Horowitz Research)
2 The Big Shift: Wave II (LG Ad Solutions)
3 Study: U.S. Households Spend Almost 6 Minutes Looking for Content to Stream on TV (Media Play News)
4 Streaming Fatigue: 39% Cancel Subscriptions and 55% Join New Services (Reviews.org)
5 Cable TV Subscribers Pay $1,618 a Year for Channels (and Ads) They Don’t Watch (MNTN Research)
6 Do Consumers Care About the Difference Between Linear and Connected TV? (Adweek)
7 2022 Digital Media Trends Survey Summary (Deloitte Insights)
8 What’s Up With Netflix’s Password Sharing Crackdown? (TechHive)
9 What Advertisers Need to Know About Market Fragmentation (MNTN Research)