Although pay TV and online have traditionally moved in opposite directions as the source for newly discovered favorite shows, today 68% of viewers watch their new favorite shows online, compared to 26% which do so from a traditional pay TV source, according to Hub.
A perfect storm of developments, such as the steady stream of new viewing platforms, the rapid growth in exclusive streaming content, and the continuing decline in MVPD subscriptions, have combined to accelerate the shift toward streamers as the home for consumers’ favorite shows, says Hub’s annual Conquering Content study.
According to the report, this year sees the gap widening between online sources and traditional pay-TV as the go-to platform for new shows. Hub asked viewers to name a current favorite TV show they’ve discovered in the past year, and then they asked how they watch it. Although pay-TV and online have traditionally moved in opposite directions as the source for newly discovered favorite shows, today 68% of viewers watch their new favorite shows online, compared to 26% which do so from a traditional pay-TV source.
Netflix continues to be the top individual viewing source for new shows, with 38% watching their recently discovered favorite on the platform. That’s 18 points higher than the percent who watch a new favorite show “live” from an MVPD source.
Hub also sees dramatic differences in how viewers discover shows they watch online vs. those they watch with pay-TV. In detail, the discovery of shows on pay-TV is driven by advertising, while favorites watched online spread organically from person to person. Specifically, when asked how they first found out about their favorite online show, the largest percentage (33%) said they heard through word-of-mouth. For favorites watched through a pay-TV platform, the top discovery source (30%) was advertising.
The research has also shown that the availability of “original” shows is a strong driver of subscription to a TV service, but many viewers don’t have a good sense of how much original content certain streaming services offer.
Furthermore, it was noted that signing up for a streaming service to watch just one show is a common phenomenon. One in 3 viewers says they have signed up for a streaming service to watch a single, exclusive show -most likely from Netflix, followed by Hulu and Disney+-. The good news for streamers is that 3 in 4 of these single-show subscribers (74%) decide to keep their subscription after the show has ended.
“Online sources are now the clear go-to for consumers’ favorite shows. And what’s especially astounding is that Netflix, by itself, is far more likely to be the viewing home for new favorites than all linear networks combined. As new streamers proliferate and as word-of-mouth and social continue to strongly influence the discovery of online content, it’s becoming rarer and rarer for viewers to turn on their pay TV set-top box when they’re settling in to watch the shows they’re most eager to watch,” said Peter Fondulas, Principal at Hub and co-author of the study.
Netflix, by itself, is far more likely to be the viewing home for new favorites than all linear networks combined” Peter Fondulas Principal at Hub