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U.S. Streaming Growth Stalls in Q1 2022; Cheap, Free Options Rise

Christian Bastian

According to Entertainment on Demand, the solution measuring streaming service from Kantar, the percentage of U.S. households who have video streaming services stalled at 86% in the first three months of the year, as approximately 110.2 million homes accessed at least one streaming service during Q1 of 2022.

While overall growth for streaming services stalled in March, the different segments of the streaming market reveal continually evolving trends. Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services saw a slight 0.2% decline and can now be found in 81.4% of homes domestically. However, ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services grew by 2.2%, climbing up to 20.2% of U.S. household penetration. Free, ad-supported TV (FAST) services saw a 0.9% to reach just over 1/4 of U.S homes at 25.3%.

While AVOD and FAST streaming continued to grow in Q1, their growth slowed compared to their rapid expansion in previous quarters. Live Pay-TV — cable and satellite — was flat last quarter, continuing to have 60% of U.S. household penetration.

Prime Video is the leading destination for new SVOD subscribers for the fourth consecutive quarter, but its market share was down 3% compared to Q4 2021. HBO Max and Paramount+ saw the greatest rises in their number of new subscribers, up 12% for HBO Max and 9% for Paramount+.

Netflix’s U.S. subscribers continued to shrink for the fifth consecutive quarter according to Kantar, seeing a decline in household penetration of 0.2% since last quarter. This results in a 4% decline year-over-year. At a time when total SVOD is flat, content is still helping drive growth. Titles like “1883” on Paramount+, “The Mandalorian” on Disney+, and “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV+ are still the leading properties attracting new customers to sign up for the individual services.

Although the stagnation of overall streaming may be attributed to content factors, it is evident price still plays a role in streaming. Both the cheap and free AVOD and FAST segments grew in penetration in Q1 2022, while the higher-priced SVOD was flat. This indicates that consumers appear to be thinking more about the financial value per subscription, making free and ad-supported choices more attractive.

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