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80% of U.S. Households Used a Streaming Service in Q1 2022

Matt Tamanini

According to a new report from analytics firm MoffettNathanson, 80% of U.S. households viewed content on a streaming service in the first quarter of 2022. That total was an increase over the 79% from Q4 2021 and a 6% increase year-over-year.

Michael Nathanson said in the report that the growth was fueled by smaller streaming services like Peacock and Paramount+ while the behemoths in the industry — Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video — remained flat during the first three months of the year.

The increases came as the streaming leaders slowed down the release of original programming while Peacock was fueled by their carriage of the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl and Paramount+ ramped up the debuts of new series.

discovery+ saw a modest increase in Q1 in terms of the number of users, but saw impressive growth in daily usage, coming in third behind only Netflix and Hulu.

The data indicates that the majority of last quarter’s increases in streaming penetration came from households that do not have a pay-TV subscription, and Nathanson said that this has accompanied a shift in the rationale behind why customers are continuing to cut the cord.

“When asked why consumers cut the cord and moved to streaming,” he said, “the issue of ‘Pay TV being too expensive’ may be quickly bypassed by the rationale that ‘all the shows I currently watch are on streaming.‘ As more linear network owners (e.g., Disney, Comcast, Paramount and now Warner Bros. Discovery) shift more and more original content to their streaming services they are potentially creating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ moment when all these individual actions end up collectively damaging a common good — in this case, the linear TV bundle.”

This change does not seem to be lost on streamers either. Earlier this month, Disney announced that it was moving its long-running juggernaut “Dancing with the Stars” from ABC to Disney+. Many onlookers see this as a play to increase streaming subscribers for the recently announced lower-cost, ad-supported version of the service.

However, it could also mark a programming shift for both Disney’s linear and streaming channels. With “DWTS” serving as Disney+’s first foray into live programming, it is possible that CEO Bob Chapek wants to shift more and more resources to the streamer at the expense of the broadcast network. While that would obviously be to the detriment of ABC, as MoffettNathanson’s report indicates, streaming is already where the industry is quickly moving as the content that viewers want most is decreasingly on broadcast. So, pairing one of ABC’s most successful franchises with Disney+’s still-growing streaming service could prove to be a long-term win for the company.