The Big 4 Dominate Streaming Video Time. What Can New Entrants Do?

March 6, 2020

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Industries | Media & Entertainment | Video

Nielsen Reasons Subscribing Additional Video Services Mar2020Streaming video is now taking up a considerable chunk of the time people spend in front of their TV screens: viewers within OTT-capable households now spend about one-fifth (19%) of their viewing time streaming, per recent data from Nielsen.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of that time with streaming services was spent with the Big 4 services: Netflix (31%), YouTube (21%), Hulu (12%) and Amazon (8%) in Q4 2019. This is a slightly smaller share than was reported by Comscore midway through 2019, when these four streaming services were found to account for 79% share of time spent with OTT. Whether or not new entrants such as Disney+ are to account isn’t clear, although it’s unlikely as it launched in November. (At the same time, it’s worth noting that Disney+ is already one of the most indispensable viewing sources for people ages 16-34, per new data from Hub Entertainment Research.)

Returning to Nielsen’s data, 28% of time spent with streaming services during Q4 2019 was spent with “other” streaming services. And, with several new streaming services having already made their debut or arriving this year, what can these new entrants do to take a larger piece of the pie away from the likes of Netflix and YouTube?

The good news is, per Nielsen’s report, 3 out of 5 Americans subscribe to more than one paid video streaming service and 9 in 10 (93% of) consumers say they will either keep their existing streaming services or add to them. That said, consumers do have a limit to how much they are willing to shell out monthly for streaming services. In fact, cost is considered an extremely/very important streaming service attribute for 84% of respondents to Nielsen’s survey (Top-2 box, out of 5).

Variety and availability of content is also high on the list of important streaming attributes for 4 out of 5 (79%) streamers. Indeed, almost half (47%) of respondents say that one of the reasons they subscribe to additional paid video streaming services is to expand the content they have available to them. Being able to watch TV content they used to but can’t find elsewhere (37%), being able to watch programs that they had heard about (37%) and accessing original content exclusive to streaming platforms (35%) are other important reasons for adding other streaming services to the mix. Thus the enormous amount of money streaming services are spending on both acquiring and producing content.

The competition for attention is fierce, especially considering that viewers say there are more good shows available now than in the past.

It’s also worth considering that having fresh content available more often could be an advantage as well, as one-fifth (20%) of streamers report having cancelled their subscription to a streaming service after watching all the content they were interested in.

About the Data: Findings are based on data from the February 2020 Nielsen Total Audience Report.


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