OTT Reaches Tipping Point, Per CTA

(Image credit: Nielsen)

ARLINGTON, Va.—The growth of streaming over the course of the pandemic, and before, has been reported on a number of occasions, but a new report from the Consumer Technology Association indicates that for the first time more people are paying for a streaming service than they are for traditional pay-TV.

In its report, “Content in the COVID-19 Era: Current Realities and Future Opportunities,” CTA looked at the impact of the pandemic on consumer entertainment, as well as video gaming content consumption behaviors.

According to CTA’s report, 71% of U.S. consumers are using a paid streaming service, while 58% are using a traditional pay-TV service. In 2020, paid and free streaming services have grown by 19 and 15 percentage points, respectively. Conversely, pay-TV services from cable, satellite or fiber providers have dropped 15 percentage points since 2018. In addition, one-quarter of consumers added at least one paid streaming service within the past few months.

Even with the shift to streaming platforms, the TV remains the primary source of entertainment, according to nine out of 10 consumers (92%). The report also finds that 60% of video content viewing time takes place in front of TV screens; the rest is on smartphones, computers and tablets.

Additional data from the report showed that 65% of U.S. adults watch content more often since COVID-19 began, and that three in 10 consumers rented at least one new movie released directly to streaming, while more than half plan to do so over the next six months.

“With more time at home, the pandemic has accelerated several trends in media, entertainment and gaming,” said Sayon Deb, manager, Market Research, CTA. “Consumers are watching more content and watching longer, as new innovations in format and delivery draw in millions of first-time users. New digital activities such as virtual concerts, live streaming and shared viewing on social platforms are also resonating with consumers.”

For more information, visit (opens in new tab).