Hub Entertainment Research released its study, "Decoding the Default,” which has tracked media outlets that consumers turn on first when they spend time watching TV. According to the report, 50% of US consumers turn on streaming on-demand services like Netflix, free services like Pluto TV, and Virtual MVPDs like YouTube TV when they turn their TV on.
The data included in the report is based on 1,600 US consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. 50% say an online service is the first source they turn on, up from 47% last year. 42% say their first choice is viewing from the traditional TV set-top box, a 47% decrease. The data was collected this year. 23% of the respondents say their first choice is Netflix. In 2016, a pay-TV service’s live TV broadcast was three times as likely as the streaming giant to be viewers’ default. Its live viewing is now only by 7% points. Fewer than 1 in 5 young consumers default to live TV, down 7 points from last year.
Consumers aged 55 or older, the proportion defaulting to live has dropped significantly since just last year. Only 14% of 18-34-year-olds turn to live TV before any other source, vs. 21% in 2019. The choice of default is driven primarily by two factors: content and ease of show discovery. The main reason for making a source one’s default is due to it offering access to one’s favorite shows. Another popular reason is the service's ability to offer a wide variety.
Consumers are more likely to remain loyal to their TV service default. For subscribers to the largest SVOD services, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+, loyalty to the service is 2 to 4 times higher among those who default to the service vs. users of each service overall. “We’ve seen a significant boost in streaming TV service subscriptions since the start of the pandemic in March of this year,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study.