Streaming’s advantage as the home for favorite shows continues to grow: consumers are now three times more likely to discover a new show on a streaming platform than on a traditional network, according to Hub’s “Conquering Content” study, which tracks how consumers discover TV content —and the platforms they use to watch newly discovered shows and movies.
Among television viewers who have discovered a new favorite TV show in the past year, 75% say the show they have discovered is on a streaming service. Only 21% have discovered a new favorite from a traditional pay TV source (live, DVR, or VOD).
The proportion discovering a new favorite on streaming has increased every year since Hub has been tracking viewing behaviors, while the proportion discovering from a traditional service has declined every year.
Netflix has lost some ground in the past year as the home for favorite shows, while the other “big five” streaming services have gained. Nevertheless, Netflix is still the single most common destination for new show discovery, named by 35% of viewers. However, after growing each year since 2017, Netflix’s percentage has dipped three points since last year. At the same time, the percent discovering a new show on one of the other top streamers (Hulu, Amazon, HBO Max, or Disney+) has grown two points since 2020.
Exclusive content is a strong driver of new sign-ups: 4 in 10 television consumers have signed up for a streaming service to watch a single show or movie not available on any other platform.
The percent signing up for a streaming service for one show only is up six points since 2020. The good news for streaming services is that exclusive shows can attract long-term subscribers, not just one-offs: a solid 77% of those signing up to watch one show end up keeping the service once they’ve watched.
Meanwhile, FAST viewing has become mainstream: for the first time since Hub has tracking, a majority (53%) of TV consumers say they sometimes watch content from a free TV streaming service with ads, such as Pluto TV, Roku Channel, Tubi, IMDB TV, and the free version of Peacock. That percentage is up a full 11 points since this time last year and 15 points since 2019.
Hub suggests that most consumers use FASTs for lean-back viewing: the streaming equivalent of linear TV channel surfing. But FAST viewers say that more than half the time they tune in to a FAST to watch a specific show or movie they know is available on the service.
“Netflix knew what it was doing back in 2013 when it prominently branded ‘House of Cards’ as a ‘Netflix Original’. More than half of TV viewers say that simply touting a show as an ‘original’ makes them more interested in watching, which in turn leads them to sign up for fear of missing out. One burning question is whether viewers will similarly embrace originals on FASTs like The Roku Channel (which this year launched a slate of original shows) — or whether those services are fated to be forever associated with older, nostalgia-friendly content,” said Peter Fondulas, Principal at Hub and co-author of the study.
The data cited in this report come from Hub’s “Conquering Content” study, conducted among 1604 US consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week. The data was collected in October 2021.