Consumers continue to flock to subscription streaming video services, but providers shouldn’t take viewers for granted. Instead, they are being advised to contemplate what will continue such growth.
Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu are already nearly as popular as traditional pay-TV services from cable and satellite, according to a recent survey from Clearleap, a digital-video tech firm that helps content companies such as HBO, the NFL and Verizon deliver streaming video to multiple screens. Last week, Clearleap was acquired by IBM to help bolster its video cloud technology portfolio.
More than seven out of 10 (71%) of the 1,111 adult U.S. consumers in Clearleap’s survey from earlier this year said they had used a streaming service, either currently or previously. Slightly more consumers (79%) said they currently subscribed to pay TV.
That streaming services have really become “on par with cable in pure market penetration … is showing consumers are really latching onto (over-the-top or OTT) services, not just specifically Netflix, but for a broad range of their entertainment consumption,” said David Mowrey, vice president of product management at Clearleap.
“A number of services have spun up in the last 12 months, and it’s really taken off,” he said. “It’s not an option for content companies anymore. They must go direct to consumers to stay relevant.”
Among the other findings that Clearleap discovered in its survey:
• Millennials are out front in the adoption of streaming services. Among those ages 18-29, more than 70% use a streaming service, but only 64% have a pay-TV subscription. And one-fourth of them (26%) have never had pay TV.
• Younger consumers don’t need a TV. More than half (58%) of those under the age of 30 have watched streaming video on their laptops, and more than one-third (39%) watch on their smartphones. About 30% use Internet-connected TVs and tablets, while 22% use video game consoles.
• Movies are what consumers want the most. Two-thirds (67%) said that movies were the content their ideal streaming service would have. After that, they wanted premium channels (48%), major broadcast networks (41%) and cable channels (41%). More than one-fourth of those surveyed (28%) wanted sports.
• Consumers are willing to pay for services. Nearly half (43%) said they would pay $10 to $25 monthly for a service, higher than current pricing of most streaming services.
The good new for consumers is that streaming services aim to grow fast and are expanding their content libraries to keep subscribers and viewers happy, Mowrey says. And many are helping push the technological envelope, with Netflix, Amazon and others offering 4K Ultra HD content.
“I don’t see that growth slowing down anytime soon,” Mowrey said. “It’s really going to hockey stick from here on forward.”