Binging on SVOD: Half U.S. Viewers Have 3+ SVOD Services

(Image credit: Netflix)

LONDON—As consumers abandon the pay TV bundle, new research finds that many people are signing up to large numbers of SVOD services, a trend that bodes well for the streaming business but raises long-term questions about costs and subscriber churn. 

A new survey from Ampere Analysis of consumer behavior in the U.S. and Canada found that more than half (52%) of households in the U.S. now have access to three or more SVOD subscriptions, a group the researcher calls “super stackers,” up from 45% in Q3 2020. Almost three in ten (29%) have access to five or more services in the U.S. 

Original content is driving the trend for SVOD stacking, especially in the U.S. where almost half (49%) say original content is the main reason they subscribe, compared to 38% in Canada.

Engagement with specific services also differs between countries. While uptake of Netflix is comparable in both markets, 61% of respondents in Canada report watching Netflix in the last month, compared to 43% in U.S. 

Higher levels of competition among streamers in the U.S. has meant that consumers are now spending less time watching content on each of the services they have access to, Ampere also found. 

The survey reported that there isn’t much difference in the daily use of social media (71% in the US versus 69% in Canada). 

But U.S. respondents are much more likely to say social media is important to them (54% vs. 45%) and Internet users in the U.S. are more likely to see watching TV as a communal activity, with 48% respondents saying it is important to them to watch TV with other people in their household. This up from 42% in Q1 2020, most likely driven by increased time indoors due to the pandemic. 

TV is also seen as an important driver of conversation in the U.S., with 56% respondents saying TV gives them something to talk about with others, compared to 49% in Canada.

Annabel Yeomans, senior analyst at Ampere Analysis says: “As we’ve seen in Europe, there are some big differences in the way people consume TV depending on where they live. In the U.S., TV is a much more important part of daily life and plays a greater role in social interaction than in Canada. Competition among streaming services is also more significant in the U.S. than in Canada. In the last six months, we have seen that this not only impacts stacking rates, but also the growing demand for quality original content as streamers battle to engage subscribers and reach new audiences.”

Ampere interviewed 4000 Internet users aged 16 to 64 in the U.S. and 2000 in Canada as part of a global study carried out twice yearly of 46,000 adults. 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.