The US Video Streaming Market May Have Reached “Peak Stacking”

May 26, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Industries | Media & Entertainment | Pay-TV & Cord-Cutting | Television | Video

Some 86% of US households subscribed to at least one video streaming service in Q1 2022, such that 110.2 million households accessed streaming services as of March, according to the latest data from Kantar. However, the number of streaming households stalled quarter-over-quarter, as did the number of stacked subscriptions.

Kantar notes that there were differences in trends among various streaming tiers. Penetration of paid streaming services without ads (SVOD) dropped by 0.2% points to 81.4%, a trend reflected by Netflix’s well-covered subscriber loss. By contrast, AVOD (paid ad-supported streaming) penetration increased by 2.2% points to 20.2%, while free, ad-supported streaming (FAST) service penetration also grew, by 0.9% points to 25.3%. Other research has likewise charted growth in ad-supported viewing as subscribers show sensitivity to pricing. In fact, Kantar’s data indicates that Netflix’s price increase drove 14% of its cancelled subscriptions during Q1 and 29% of planned cancellations in the second quarter.

About 5 Subscriptions per Household Seems Like Enough

The number of services subscribed to by US households has been growing, but Kantar argues that “peak stacking” may have been reached. During the quarter, the average number of subscriptions per household stood at 4.7, unchanged from the previous quarter. Within paid streaming, households accessed 3.7 services on average, which also remained unchanged compared to Q4 2021.

For comparison’s sake, a year ago the number of total streaming services that US households were stacking was 3.8. As it stands, then, after adding another service over the past year on average, households may have had their fill. As Kantar details, “with so much choice, consumers are finding it harder to find content they want to watch.”

Other Findings:

  • Live pay-TV penetration was flat during Q1 2022 at 60% of US households.
  • Prime Video captured the largest share of new SVOD streaming subscribers (17%), ahead of HBO Max (13%) and Disney+ (11%).
  • Specific content fueled 37% of SVOD sign-ups on average, but 64% for Paramount+ SVOD.
  • Netflix’s slowdown is attributed to more competition within the SVOD sector and more content choices at a lower cost from AVOD players.

About the Data: Findings are based on a quarterly survey of 20,000 US consumers.

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