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Report: Streaming Demand Surges for Action & Adventure, Cools for Drama

Steve Anderson

A new report from Reelgood takes a deep dive into the changing state of streaming for service providers and their audiences. As each service jockeys for subscribers, those that succeed will offer the right content to match audience trends.

Reelgood charted the genre changes in streaming catalogs against genre demand from the audience. In some cases, streaming services pulled back on some genres that were actually more popular with their viewers, leaving an unusual disconnect between what customers wanted and what platforms were willing to provide.

The study cited five genres that gained the most in terms of catalog availability. If you noticed more documentaries on your services, you picked the biggest gainer.

Rank Genre Catalog Share Point Gain Y/Y
1 Documentary +3.2
2 Animation +1.5
3 Family +0.8
4 Biography +0.4
5 History +0.3

Horror fans found less to stream, however. That genre lost the most ground in availability.

Rank Genre Catalog Share Point Loss Y/Y
1 Horror -1.9
2 Drama -1.7
3 Action & Adventure -1.5
4 Thriller -1.4
5 Comedy -1.2

Here’s where things get particularly interesting for streaming platforms. The audience is currently craving more of many of the genres that became more scarce.

Rank Genre Audience Share Point Gain Y/Y
1 Action & Adventure +3.0
2 Mystery +1.8
3 Science-Fiction +1.6
4 Comedy +1.5
5 Thriller +1.0

Related: The Best Streaming Services for Action Movies

According to the report, 2021 audiences are less apt to sit through a drama or a family film.

Rank Genre Audience Share Point Loss Y/Y
1 Drama -3.4
2 Family -1.1
3 Documentary -1.0
4 LGBTQ -0.6
5 Animation -0.4

This disconnect between audience demand and catalog availability may be disastrous for companies already facing difficulties with churn.

When considering the individual platforms and their catalog sizes, many ranked the same as last year. However, one streaming platform proved a big winner on several fronts: Paramount+. Paramount+ emerged as a top five platform on six different fronts as measured by movie catalog size: action/adventure, thriller, mystery, comedy, history, and science-fiction.

One surprise: Shout Factory broke into the Top 5 list for sci-fi catalog size. It’s the home for “Mystery Science Theater 3000” along with remastered science-fiction and horror titles, a slot formerly occupied by DVD distributor Anchor Bay.

With streaming video on the rise overall, and customers willing to use as many as nine streaming platforms, the services that cater to demand will find themselves on a path for growth. Failure to address any lapses in a catalog merely opens the door for a competitor.

Streaming platforms here are making some advances, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to better connect the customer to what they want. That’s a good step; sometimes it really is just a matter of discovery and finding what the platform already has to offer. But the Reelgood study makes one thing clear: if streaming platforms want to survive the long term, they’re going to need to actually offer what customers want to watch.

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