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Report: 87% of U.S. Households Viewed Streaming Services Last Quarter as Pay-TV Cancellations Slowed

David Satin

Research firm Kantar has released the results of its latest survey of TV viewing habits across the United States. The report has a ton of information for streaming services and consumers to digest, as well as a much-needed piece of good news for pay-TV providers.

Kantar’s survey found that 87% of respondents said that they accessed streaming TV in one form or another during the third quarter of 2022. Interestingly, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services now reach 82% of households, down 1% from Q2. That difference is made up for by ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported TV (FAST) services, which each grew their household penetration by 1% in Q3.

AVOD services are now used in 28% of U.S. homes, while 24% use FAST platforms according to the survey.

Despite the 1% decline in the space, SVOD losses were not equal across the board. Smaller services Apple TV+ and Paramount+ both saw quarter-over-quarter growth rates of over 10%, while Prime Video, Netflix, and SHOWTIME were the only services that actually lost subscribers in the U.S., while every other SVOD saw its domestic numbers increase in Q3.

The Netflix earning report showed that the streamer add 2.4 million subscribers globally and 104,000 in the U.S. and Canada. However, Kantar’s research indicates that Netflix actually lost customers domestically, primarily due to cost. The good news for Netflix is that it may be able to lure those customers back when it launches its new, cheaper AVOD tier on Nov. 3.

There was good news mixed in with the bad for Prime Video as well. Although it lost subscribers in Q3 according to Kantar, part of that loss was the expected exodus of subscribers who signed up for a promotional period during Prime Day. Kantar’s research found that Prime Video secured the highest percentage of customers who said they signed up for a new service in the third quarter, likely driven by the beginning of “Thursday Night Football” in September.

Finally, Kantar’s research offered a glimmer of hope for pay-TV providers. The data showed that cable TV cancelations slowed from over 1 million households in Q2 to around 300,000 households in Q3. Audiences are no longer cutting costs at the rate they were in Q2. Instead, they are more likely to keep their cable TV and subscribe to higher-cost streaming services than they were in the previous quarter.

That’s good news for cable now, but the economic outlook over the next year may dampen enthusiasm a bit. If the economy does suffer, cable cancelations may rise dramatically as people look to cut expensive items from their budgets.

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