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Survey: Only 10 Percent of TV Viewers Don’t Have Any Streaming Services

Steve Anderson

The fight is over and streaming won. According to Hub Entertainment Research, traditional TV-only households are almost extinct. And even live TV is falling as the “default” viewing choice.

Right now, 55 percent of users say they start their TV experience with an online service, and that’s up 5 percent compared to this time last year. The number of users turning to live viewing, DVR, or VOD dropped 3 points from last year’s figures down to 39 percent.

Since at least 2015, the use of streaming-only in households has been on the rise; back in 2015, Hub’s study revealed 8 percent of respondents were streaming only, but 31 percent were traditional only. By 2021, those numbers had shifted to 19 percent streaming only and 10 percent traditional only.

Interestingly, the number of hybrid households—those who used a combination of streaming and traditional sources—has been relatively stable for the life of the study. It’s been in roughly the 60 to 70 percent range for the last six years, with only one year—2016—coming in just under that at 57 percent.

While the use of streaming is on the rise, one of the big surprises of the Hub study is that Netflix is losing some steam. When asked what the default TV experience is for users, the number who cited “Netflix” dropped from 23 percent to 20 percent. Interestingly, this is after a previous similar drop seen between 2018 and 2019, when it went from 23 percent to 21 percent.

Finally, the study found that there was a significant advantage at play for aggregators, like apps for televisions and set-top boxes, that could compile large numbers of options in one place. Users were increasingly looking for a way to keep all their various subscriptions in place and operation under one umbrella, whether that be the television itself or something similar. Also notable: an explosion in the use of smart TV apps - that number has more than doubled in the last year.

That’s a lot to digest, but suffice it to say that the streaming market is rapidly on the rise. Those looking to maintain their status as traditional-only households will likely find that option harder to maintain, unless there’s no other choice thanks to a lack of internet infrastructure. It’s also a safe bet that, as internet access improves thanks to things like 4G LTE home internet and Elon Musk’s Starlink system, we’ll see these numbers shift still further.

The media landscape has been moving away from physical media for some time now, and this latest study shows just how far it’s come since. The home theater’s rise to prominence is on full display here, and one day, we may well only watch television via online sources.

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