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Is Streaming the Mainstream Way to Watch TV Yet; And If Not, When Will It Get There?

Many consumers have decided to “cut the cord” and make the switch to streaming. While streaming is booming with new content, features, and services, plenty of people are still hanging onto pay TV. Surveys have shown that streaming appears to be the future of home entertainment, but how soon will consumers fully commit?

Roku’s Streaming Decade report shows that “TV streaming has passed a tipping point.” According to the report, one in four consumers is a cord-cutter.

In the past year, one in four people has also canceled their pay-TV service. This is true among all age groups, with Gen Z and Millenials at 25%, Gen X at 27%, and Boomers at 23%.

Roku’s report shows that consumers of all ages are leaning into streaming. While more young people are streaming, Boomers aren’t too far behind at 71%.

Another driving contributor is popular content. Consumers are largely interested in streaming because it allows them to watch what everybody else is talking about. According to Roku, this happens less often with pay-tv.

Because streaming was accelerated by stay-at-home orders in the thick of the pandemic, there have been questions about streaming holding strong as the world returns to “normal” after the pandemic. However, Roku’s report says that half of consumers are still planning to watch as much TV as they did during the pandemic. Other studies have shown promising numbers for streaming services.

While there’s no denying that streaming services are growing in popularity, they don’t appear to be the mainstream – yet. Other recent reports have shown that streaming hasn’t quite caught up to its competitors in terms of TV usage. Each month, Nielsen releases “The Gauge,” which shows consumers’ TV viewing habits. In May, streaming made up 26% of TV usage. Streaming jumped to 27% in June and then 28% in July. There is gradual growth from month to month, which is promising for streaming services.

Recent analysis shows that the next five years could be an important part of streaming becoming the mainstream. Digital TV Research predicts that the number of streaming subscriptions will jump from 338 to 450 million by 2026. This may give us more insight into when streaming will become more dominant.

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