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Consumers overwhelmed as streaming surges

Almost half of U.S. audiences feel overwhelmed by the abundance of content available to them, Nielsen reveals in its State of Play 2022 report, which also found that the average weekly time consumers spent streaming video rose by 18 percent in the last year.

Americans are spending an average of 4 hours and 49 minutes a day watching content, with about an hour and 22 minutes via connected TV services. Content from streaming platforms accounted for close to 29 percent, ahead of broadcast TV’s 26.4 percent.

Between February 2021 and February 2022, video streaming minutes in the U.S. rose from 143.2 billion to 169.4 billion. The report also found that 93 percent of Americans will increase their paid streaming services or make no changes to their existing plans over the next year.

State of Play reports that 18 percent of U.S. consumers are now paying for four streaming services, as compared with just 7 percent in 2019. Monthly spend is between $20 and $29.99 for 21 percent of subs, with 17 percent spending between $30 and $49.99 and 15 percent spending $50 or more.

With the number of unique program titles available to consumers rising by 18 percent in the past three years, 46 percent say they are overwhelmed by the growing number of options as they struggle to find what they want to watch. According to Nielsen, Americans could choose from more than 817,000 individual titles as of this February, up from 646,000 in December 2019. More than half (53 percent) were TVOD, followed by 41 percent SVOD non-exclusive, 36 percent on free AVOD, 24 percent linear non-exclusive, 15 percent SVOD exclusive and 16 percent linear exclusive.

To make it easier to find what they want, 64 percent of respondents said they wish there were a bundled video streaming service. “Making it easy for audiences to find new content they’ll love is key,” the report says. “That way viewers don’t get stuck aimlessly scrolling or reverting to half-watching a stale, yet familiar choice and disengaging. Applying hyper-detailed video descriptors to content catalogs can help here, as they crystalize the storylines and context that make up the essence of a show or movie. This data enables nuanced discovery paths and offers fresh and relevant program recommendations that are aligned with a viewer’s individual tastes and viewing history.”

The report also found that adoption of vMPVDs is on the rise, increasing from 7.1 percent of TV homes to 12.5 percent in the last three years, led by usage of YouTube TV, Hulu+ Live, DirecTV Stream and Sling TV.

“The inaugural State of Play really underscores the fact that we’ve entered the next phase of streaming, based on the trends we have been detailing about streaming over the past few years,” says Brian Fuhrer, senior VP of product strategy at Nielsen. “We’ve moved from infancy into adolescence, and all the complexities that one would expect at that point. It’s not just that streaming is increasing year over year. Now consumers want access simplified and the explosion of services has renewed discussions around bundling and aggregation. Ultimately, these challenges signal an opportunity as the industry harnesses streaming for long-term business growth.” World Screen

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