New research from Hub Entertainment Research has found that the average number of TV services used per viewer reached 4.8 in April 2020, vs 3 in 2018, a rise of over 50%. Hub includes all TV services in the mix - pay-TV, SVOD and AVOD. Hub found that more viewers are using SVOD services, and those that are use multiple services. 74% used either Netflix, Amazon or Hulu in April, 2020 vs. 70% a year earlier. And 46% of viewers used two or more of these services in April, 2020 compared with 43% a year earlier.
More broadly, Hub found that 78% of respondents now subscribe to a streaming service, up from 72%. This moves up to 82% for those currently self-isolating due to the pandemic and soars to 94% for those self-isolating and with kids who are home. Among traditional streaming services, Amazon increased its penetration from 37% a year ago to 42% and Hulu increased its from 26% to 28%, while Netflix nudged up from 62% to 63%. New services Disney+ gained 31% penetration and Apple TV+ had 6%.
Another interesting nugget in the Hub research is that pay-TV subscribers who have used their provider’s set-top box to watch streaming services tend to keep using it; 58% do so to access Netflix, 61% for Amazon and 57% for Hulu. This is a key validation of providers’ efforts to aggregate streaming services and another way to create value in the set-top box rental and reduce cord-cutting. It also strengthens their efforts to strike partnerships with additional SVOD services.
Outside of SVOD, Hub also found a big increase in the number of viewers using free AVOD services; 40% said they used one in April, 2020 vs. 33% a year earlier. In a recent interview, Roku’s VP of Ad Sales and Strategy Alison Levin said that the growth rate for streaming hours on Roku’s top ad-supported channels was higher that the growth rate for its top subscription channels. As millions of consumers tighten their budgets due to the pandemic, free TV services will only become more popular and we should expect their growth to continue surpassing SVOD’s.
Hub surveyed 2,000 TV viewers age 16-74 from April 1-8. An excerpt of the full report, “The Best Bundle,” can be downloaded for free.