Average Viewer Uses Seven Streaming Services, NPD Finds

Woman watching TV
(Image credit: Nielsen)

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.—As the number of streaming services continues to grow, consumers are embracing their options by increasing the average number of streamers they watch, according to a new study from NPD Group.

NPD’s TV Switching Study tracks the changes in the ways U.S. consumers view and buy digital content. In its most recent edition of the study, NPD found that the average consumer uses seven subscription (SVODs) and free streaming services, up from five as of April of this year.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the viewing habits of consumers, NPD acknowledges, but it believes that it’s more than people just being home more.

“By and large, consumers want the ability to customize their viewing experience, bundling both paid and free services that provide them with the content they want, when they want it,” said John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst with NPD’s Connected Intelligence practice.

Per the report, access to exclusive content was the main reason for consumers to use SVOD services (39%). This is leading consumers to switch, cancel or decrease their engagement with services if they feel there’s better content elsewhere—NPD reported 21% of consumers did so, up from 14% in April.

Free streaming services are becoming more popular as well, growing from 39% viewership among consumers in April to 47% as of the latest report. However, NPD says that free services, while having lower churn, experience lower engagement rates, which makes their content all the more important.

“Amidst COVID-related content production challenges, viewers are increasing the number of streaming services they use, as they seek to find content that captures their interest,” said Buffone. “Competition will become an even greater challenge for services. Both now, as viewers try more options and later as production ramps up and each service gets new programming.”

NPD’s TV Switching Study results were as of October. For more information, visit www.npd.com.