Pay-TV Subscribers Report High Rates of SVOD Usage

March 19, 2018

More than two-thirds of adults (68.2%) in the US and Canada report using at least one subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, finds TiVo in its latest quarterly report [download page], a figure in line with recent household penetration estimates from Strategy Analytics.

What’s interesting to find is that SVOD usage is actually slightly higher among respondents with pay-TV service than among those without.

Some 63.8% of cord-cutters and cord-nevers (those who don’t subscribe to a pay-TV service) surveyed in Q4 2017 said they had at least one SVOD subscription, up from 60.6% in Q3.

But those figures were outpaced by pay-TV subscribers, 69.5% of whom reported having at least one SVOD subscription, up from 64.7% in the prior quarter. These 7 in 10 dual-subscribers are called “cord cheaters” by TiVo.

The disparity between pay-TV subscribers and non-subscribers in SVOD usage may be due to cord-cutters generally being lighter video content consumers, as found in several pieces of research. Previous research also suggests that people are not abandoning pay-TV in favor of streaming services but instead are choosing to supplement their pay TV services with them.

Then again, a separate new consumer study from UBS reportedly found a direct correlation between adoption of streaming services and pay-TV service churn, which seems to be a more logical connection.

Nonetheless, people without a pay-TV service – as evidenced by their SVOD subscriptions – are watching content on TV in a variety of ways.

Many watch TV over-the-air using an antenna (34.9%), have a smart TV which they use to watch app-based content such as Netflix and Hulu (30.6%) and/or use a streaming media device (23.9%) or stick/dongle (10.3%).

Among the 15% of respondents who said they don’t have cable or satellite service, just 13.4% said they don’t own a TV.

Cord-Cutters and Cord-Cheaters Have Similar SVOD Preferences

Not too surprisingly, streaming service preferences are largely similar among subscribers, regardless of their pay-TV subscriber status.

Netflix, as the leading service for both groups, is slightly more popular among streaming subscribers without a pay-TV service (83.3%) than among those with one (79.4%). But the next-most popular service, Amazon Prime, sees higher penetration rates among cord-cheaters (38.1%) than among cord-cutters (34.1%). Hulu, meanwhile, is third for both cord-cutters (27.4%) and cord-cheaters (23.8%).

In this latest report TiVo measured YouTube TV adoption for the first time, finding that it has gained a strong base of support. It ranks fourth among services among streaming subscribers, used by 1 in 10 SVOD-using cord-cutters (10.2%) and by 1 in 8 dual-service users (12.9%).

Among the lesser-used services, HBO NOW, Starz and Showtime each see far higher penetration rates among dual-service subscribers than among cord-cutters with access to SVOD.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 3,330 adults (18+) in the US and Canada.

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