Half of Subscribers Say Streaming Has Replaced Traditional TV

February 7, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Digital | Industries | Media & Entertainment | Pay-TV & Cord-Cutting | Television | TV Audiences & Consumption | Video

More than 4 in 5 US households subscribe to at least one subscription video-on-demand service, and a majority of broadband-only households also watch ad-supported streaming services. Does all this streaming mean that traditional TV is being replaced? A report [download page] from MRI-Simmons indicates that, for many, it has. 

The report, which encompasses data from an online survey fielded three times a year with a minimum of 5,000 respondents per wave, shows that the gap between those individuals who say they think of streaming as an addition to watching traditional TV, not a replacement, (51%) and those who say streaming has replaced traditional TV (49%) has closed. Indeed, only four years earlier, fewer than 4 in 10 (37% of) respondents said that streaming had replaced traditional TV for them. 

It’s possible that this change in thinking is linked to the pandemic and the increased time people have spent viewing video via streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Another factor that might be figuring into the increased share of people who say streaming has replaced traditional TV is the influx of new streaming video services that have popped up over the past couple of years.

Cutting the Cord

Those respondents who have cut their TV services or planned to do so in the next 6 months report that their most important reason for doing so is because they are watching via streaming services instead (34% share). Cost is also a key factor, with about one-quarter (26% share) saying their TV package is too expensive and another 13% citing the desire to cut down on overall expenses as the most important reason for cutting the cord. 

In fact, other than having a large selection of TV shows, movies and videos (45%), cost is one of the most cited benefits of streaming, in comparison to watching traditional TV. More than 4 in 10 (43% of) respondents say that streaming being more cost-effective or costing less than traditional TV is one of its benefits.

Earlier research from The Trade Desk and YouGov shows that a majority of US consumers surveyed are willing to pay at least $10-$20 per month for a streaming service. And, while this can quickly add up, especially considering that the average number of streaming subscriptions per SVOD subscriber in Q3 2021 was 4.2, MRI-Simmons’ survey shows that those who choose to go cordless ($61.80) spend considerably less per month than those who only subscribe to traditional TV services ($112.10) or those who subscribe to both TV and streaming services ($109.30).

Holding on to Traditional TV

It’s fair to say that traditional TV won’t be completely replaced by streaming services anytime soon. Indeed, for some, streaming is just an additional service to go along with their traditional TV. The report points out that more than half (53%) of Americans have a traditional TV subscription, whether it be cable, satellite or fiber optic. Of those who still have traditional TV, three-quarters (74%) also stream video. 

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on MRI-Simmons’ Cord Evolution Study, an online survey fielded 3 times a year with a minimum of 5,000 respondents per wave.

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