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Survey: Average Home Uses Nearly 9 Streaming Services, Spends Nearly $32 Each Month

Steve Anderson

Channel surfing isn’t dead? Commercials aren’t all that bad? The latest Video Trends Report from TiVo came packed with surprising data, and that’s just the start. TiVo’s report covers everything from the rising use of voice search to the gains the streaming market is making overall, so let’s dive in and have a look.

Streaming is on the Rise

We knew as much anecdotally; we’re all talking about the latest thing on Netflix or Disney+ or any of a dozen others. TiVo’s report makes it abundantly—and objectively—clear. In 2016, the average household used just four streaming services. Today, the average is 8.8, more than double the number just five years ago.

Source: TiVo

Breaking down those numbers by market segment, however, gets particularly interesting. Those aged 18 to 30 use vastly more streaming services than even the norm; they use to an average of 11.3 different video services. Those over 51, meanwhile, on average use only five different services. (These numbers include any video site, including YouTube, Facebook Watch, Twitch, and Dailymotion.)

Meanwhile, breakouts by income are even more telling. Those who make over $100,000 a year use more services on average than even 18-to-30-year-olds, coming in at 12.12 services. There’s little difference between those who make less than $50,000 per year and those who make between $50,000 and $100,000 per year: the lower earners use an average of 6.35 services, while the relatively higher earners subscribe to 7.88 services on average.

One point, in particular, explains this: churn rates. The TiVo study found that streaming video on demand (SVOD) services average about double the churn rate of pay TV. That may be because it’s a lot easier to cancel an SVOD service than it is to cancel cable. The ability to switch back and forth fairly quickly among the various streamers allows for people to subscribe to fewer overall; the “streaming nomad” is a real phenomenon as viewers go to one service, watch what they haven’t seen, then cancel and go to the next service for its new content.

Source: TiVo

With the average SVOD user paying $31.80/month, consumers are clearly aware of their streaming budgets. To offset the cost of premium services like HBO Max and Netflix, viewers are also turning to free video services like Pluto TV and Tubi.

Source: TiVo

The More Things Change…

Additionally, the TiVo report also found that some elements of the streaming market are a lot like the old days of television viewing.

Channel surfing is still a thing

It may be different from what it was, but channel surfing is still a thing. Instead of surfing through a pay-TV block of channels, or something similar on an antenna, streaming channel surfers will turn to guides or app interfaces outright. They’re looking for the same thing old-style channel surfers did, though: something that looks interesting right now. 61% of Pay-TV subscribers channel/guide surf, but the numbers are still high among subscribers to free streaming services (42%), subscription streaming services (36%) and live TV streaming services (34%)

Commercials aren’t all that bad

83% of respondents wish that paid streaming services like Netflix offered a free version supported by ads. They were willing to endure the advertising to get access to the content. Moreover, 81% of users, when planning their next streaming service, were willing to subscribe to an ad-supported service rather than paying for another service.

Movie theaters aren’t dead

While movie theaters will still have interested viewers, those viewers are going to need some incentives. 58% of respondents were interested in paying to stream the latest theatrical release at home, while 64% don’t care whether there’s a pandemic or not; they like watching movies at home.

History May Not Repeat, But It Sure Does Rhyme

As we’ve seen from the last few years, streaming video has proven a major destabilizing element when it comes to home entertainment. The rise of the home theater has always been a factor in the market since there were video stores. Thanks to the closure of Family Video earlier this year, video stores might be gone, but the home theater remained, fed now by a combination of streaming video and purchased Blu-rays.

As internet access improves, fed by things like 4G LTE home internet and Elon Musk’s Starlink, the end result is a market that takes on some of the features of the old, while also incorporating plenty of new. The TiVo study shows us just how much the market has changed, and oddly enough, how it’s remained the same.

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