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Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services have been pouring money into original content in recent years, often to great critical acclaim. But those investments seem to have been paying off in other – more important – ways: subscriptions. In a new report [download page], YouGov reveals that 43% of TV-viewing adults have ever started using a service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in order to view a specific TV program.

To be sure, those programs don’t necessarily have to be SVOD original content. However, the popularity of that content, combined with the availability of much pay-TV programming via video-on-demand (VOD) offerings, suggests that the specific shows that are drawing subscriptions are likely to often be programming original to the SVOD service.

It also indicates that a hit TV program can be a strong driver of SVOD subscriptions.

Those who join on the basis of a specific TV program are highly likely to pay for their subscription, too. In fact, 70% of those who joined to watch a specific show said they paid for the TV service that they used. About 1 in 4 didn’t pay because someone else was paying for it (13%) or because it was a free service (11%), while just 5% subscribed to a free trial and then abandoned the service after the trial period ended.

Earlier this year, research from Ampere Analysis found that 32% of Netflix viewers and 31% of Amazon Video customers say that they watch original content on those platforms more often than any other type of content.

Separately, the YouGov research reveals that the single largest factor helping viewers decide what TV programs to watch is the theme/content/genre of the program. That exceeds even recommendations from friends, family and colleagues, which is nonetheless an important source of content discovery.

As for genres, Netflix seems to be placing its bets on Dramas and Comedies, according to Ampere Analysis, which estimated the genres that are attracting the most Netflix spending on original content.

About the Data: YouGov’s study is based on data from YouGov Profiles. YouGov Profiles is the YouGov connected data vault that holds 221,375 variables collected from the most active 201,000 panelists.

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