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Survey: Streaming the Pick Over Cable TV for 55% of Consumers

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(Image credit: Hub Entertainment Research)

CHICAGO—The scales have tipped in favor of streaming over cable TV, according to a new survey conducted by TransUnion. Driven in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home restrictions, consumers’ viewing habits have changed to the ultimate benefit of streaming.

Subscription-based streaming providers, from Netflix to Apple TV, have seen growing adoption among consumers since March and the beginning of the pandemic. On average, consumers are spending 3-4 hours a day consuming streaming media, with 55% choosing streaming over a cable TV subscription, per the TransUnion survey.

TransUnion conducted a similar survey in May, where it found that 56% of consumers had increased their usage of streaming since March. This latest survey has seen that number increase to 71% of consumers.

“COVID-19 has upended the entertainment landscape and with it, has accelerated the shift to streamed media,” said Matt Spiegel, executive vice president and head of the marketing solutions and media verticals at TransUnion. “To gain market share, platforms are vying for captive audiences, focusing on how their content can stand out in a growing sea of choices. We can expect factors like content quality, price and user experience to all carry weight in decisions from consumers about streaming new content through various service providers.”

To the factors Spiegel mentions, across all age groups the number one reason choose streaming is the content the streamer provided. The second most popular reason for all age groups was streaming platforms being more affordable than cable or satellite TV; in particular, 42% of Gen Z, 41% of millennials and 38% of Gen X cited this as a key reason they will use more streaming in 2021. Overall, TransUnion found that 68% of respondents will consider adding more streaming services in 2021.

However, the number of streaming services that consumers are willing to pay for may have hit a plateau, even as more services enter the market. TransUnion found that 44% of consumers subscribe to three to five paid streaming services; only 7% subscribe to as many as six to 10.

More than half (58%) of consumers do not expect to add another paid streaming service in the next 30-60 days, but 67% do not plan to cancel any of their existing subscriptions either.

“The streaming wars have entered a new phase where it is not only about capturing potential new customers, but there’s also a focus on sustaining and maintaining their existing customer base. While consumers are adjusting to the new realities brought on by the pandemic, there is still a strong appetite for streaming. As those preferences persist, the advertising industry will need to connect the dots and create a better, more accurate view into the devices and people consuming streaming media in the connected home.” said Spiegel.

For more information on the survey, visit TransUnion’s website