Ampere: U.S. Homes Must Add Streamers to Keep Breadth of Content

Streaming platforms
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LONDON—It’s becoming increasingly difficult to stream all the content you want with only one or two streaming services. The licensing of studio content to third-party platforms (i.e. Netflix) has pulled back as new services like Disney+ and HBO Max debut from major studios, leading households to add more streaming services if they want to have access to some of the content they previously had, as well as popular new titles.

This is according to a new report from Ampere Analysis on the U.S. and European subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) markets. Ampere finds that the average U.S. streaming household now subscribes to four different SVODs.

Over a 12 month period (Q3 2019-Q3 2020), the number of U.S. SVOD contracts shot up from 169 million to 308 million, impacted in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. In that time, new services made inroads—Disney+ added 40 million U.S. subscribers, while other new streamers Peacock and HBO Max brought in a combined 45 million.

Per Ampere’s findings, the typical U.S. household now has access to 90,000 hours of content, roughly equal to 10 years of continuous playback.

But there’s a give and take to that number. The focus on direct-to-consumer content from major studios is drying up the content the likes of Netflix and Amazon can license for their own services, which is causing their libraries to shrink. Amazon, which has the largest catalog in the U.S., has lost 6,000 hours of content since Q3 2019. Hulu, meanwhile, has lost 12,000 hours since Q3 2018.

“Consumers will have more access to high-quality content than ever before as new and existing services compete to produce more original content,” said Alexios Dimitropoulos, research manager at Ampere. “However, as studios continue with their direct-to-consumer strategy, the golden age of access to cheap content is coming to a close.”

Additional findings from the Ampere report show that households with young children are more likely to have more SVOD services. A U.S. family with elementary-age children has an average of five streaming services. Those with Disney+ also are more likely to have more SVOD services, but ones with smaller content catalogs, like ESPN+, which can be bundled with Disney+.

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