Youths’ Most Indispensable TV Sources Are All Streaming Services

April 7, 2022

When young people want to watch TV, they typically turn to streaming services first, so it’s little wonder that the narrow 18-34 age bracket alone is estimated to account for more than 4 in 10 daily subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) viewers. Now, a report [excerpt download] from Hub Entertainment Research finds that streaming sources make up the entire list of the 5 most indispensable TV networks/sources for youth.

Given the option to choose only 5 networks they could keep, younger viewers (ages 16-34) were most eager to hold on to their streaming services. Leading the pack was Netflix, which 43% of respondents cited as one of their 5 most indispensable sources. Netflix was followed by Hulu (30%), Prime Video (29%), Disney+ (27%), and HBO Max (22%).

Four of these 5 sources are the same as identified last year, with the lone change being HBO Max this year taking over from ESPN. Compared to last year’s results, Disney+ has moved down the rankings, while Hulu and Prime Video have risen.

It’s a different story for the 35+ crowd, however. Although Netflix tops this list also (as cited by 33%), the following 3 positions are all held by broadcast networks: CBS (26%); ABC (23%); and NBC (22%). Prime Video rounds out the top 5 (21%).

Once again, four of these top 5 sources were also seen in last year’s list, and once again it’s ESPN that has bowed out of the top 5, this time making way for Prime Video. Another noticeable change is Netflix’s #1 ranking for the first time, up from #3 last year.

Original Content Continues to Play A Role

This latest study reveals that 36% of respondents have signed up for a service in the past year in order to watch a specific show or movie. This is up a point from 35% in 2021 also up from 33% in 2020, as viewers keep ascribing value to originals.

SVODs are benefiting from this focus on originals, as 62% of viewers who added a TV service in order to watch specific content subscribed to an SVOD. Netflix was the biggest beneficiary, in keeping with previous research finding that viewers tend to believe it has the best originals.

However, Paramount+ was not far behind, and the report notes that this service was actually the biggest beneficiary of originals-driven subscriptions among the 35+ age bracket. In fact, Paramount+ was the fastest-growing brand of 2021 in purchase intent, according to one report.

Familiarity Trails for FASTs

The study indicates that while consumers are both aware of and familiar with (i.e. confident they can explain the brand and what it offers to another person) the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu, familiarity is lower with newer and ad-supported platforms.

For example, while name recognition is high (above 90%) for Peacock, Paramount+, and Apple TV+, only around half or fewer of respondents felt confident they could explain those brands and their offerings to someone else. And so-called FASTs (free ad-supported platforms) fare even worse. As an example, despite each having 76% awareness, only around 1 in 3 respondents feel familiar with Tubi (33%) and Pluto TV (31%).

About the Data: The results are based on a February 2022 survey of 1,601 people ages 16-74 who watch at least one hour of TV per week and have broadband access.

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