Consumers Subscribe to 4 Streaming Services on Average

With so many changes in the world, including a global pandemic, and generational changes, a new “Digital Media Trends” survey by Deloitte shows how media conglomerates and entertainment companies can create and develop long-lasting relationships with changing customers. The online survey was conducted in February 2021, with 2,009 US consumers surveyed.

With consumers having more choices when it comes to staying connected, entertained, and informed, there are more free and paid options than ever before when it comes to streaming music, streaming video, and social media. Generation Z is on pace to being the largest disruptor when it comes to habits within the media and entertainment industry.

According to the survey, 82% of Americans subscribe to a paid video streaming service, with 4 being the average number of video streaming services they’re subscribed to. Only 67% of Americans have a pay-TV subscription and fewer use an ad-supported streaming service at 55%.

When it comes to entertainment activities, the generational divide is present for those who were surveyed. Gen-Xers, Millennials, and Boomers ranked watching TV and movies at home as their top-choice entertainment activity out of the 16 choices on the survey. However, Gen-Zers went against the norm, as watching TV and movies at home wasn’t even a top-four choice for them. Gen-Zers surveyed would prefer playing video games, listening to music, browsing the internet, or engaging on social media over watching TV and movies. Even with the generational split, 57% of the total people surveyed ranked watching TV and movies at home as their top choice.

If Generation Z’s position doesn’t change then over time video streaming will not remain the most popular choice for most consumers. This will force media and entertainment companies to make changes to their products to capitalize on consumer behaviors and trends.

The ongoing pandemic has hurt streaming habits due to content cost combined with consumers getting “subscription fatigue.” The lack of new video content due to production delays has caused consumers to switch to other forms of entertainment or competitors within the industry. Plus, consumers are aware of the price increases caused by subscription services spending billions on content that will eventually be passed down to their subscribers. 46% of those surveyed stated that a low enough price is why they paid for a new streaming service.

Coincidentally, as paid video streaming services prices have increased, 55% of those surveyed use a free ad-supported video service. Sensitivity to price was the biggest reason why a surveyed subscriber would cancel a video streaming service as 49% cited that price increases were the reason for their cancelations. Tied at 31% for second place, video streaming subscribers cited having content being removed and finding another streaming service that has content they wanted more as reasons why they canceled their subscriptions. To round out the top 3 reasons at 29%, surveyors cited finding another video streaming service cheaper as the reason for their cancelation.

The majority of subscribers find it frustrating that they have to subscribe to multiple services to access the content they want (53%) and more frustrating that content they wanted to watch was removed from a subscription service (67%). These frustrating challenges are what lead to “subscriber churn” with a 37% churn rate for video streaming services from October 2020 to February 2021.

The survey breaks down a number of key findings when it comes to viewer habits, advertising, and cost.

  • 40% of respondents would prefer to pay $12/mo. for a service with no ads 
  • 39% prefer a free service with 12 minutes of ads per hour
  • Younger generations prefer no ads: 48% of Generation Z and 46% of Millennials would rather pay for streaming video services to completely avoid ads
  • 27% of Gen-Zers and 24% of Millennials find ads annoying on streaming video services
  • Old generations are more likely to find streaming video ads less memorable than younger generations.
  • 18% of Millenials and Gen-Zers find streaming video ads memorable; however, only 13% of Gen-Xers and 14% of Boomers find them memorable.