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Consumer Insights: OTT Subscriptions Trounce Traditional Pay-TV Services in 2021

Today’s consumer insights article features latest OTT versus Pay TV subscription trends in the US.

The cord-cutting trends has picked pace in 2021, especially since the relapse of the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of second wave.  A large number of US households are opting for OTT service over traditional pay-TV services. Parks Associates’ new research reveals 82% of US broadband households subscribe to at least one OTT service and 58% subscribe to a traditional pay-TV service. An easy and cheaper access to internet services definitely favors the rising trend of Connected TV streaming. OTT Content penetration has eased traditional restrictions faced by consumers. These include geographic restrictions, cable costs, and maintenance charges levied by the various Pay-TV service providers.

According to a recent report, over 2 billion people used OTT services in 2020. Netflix alone had ~154 million subscribers in the US in 2019. In a heavily competitive market that also has players like Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, TiVO, Roku, AT&T TV and others, we can expect consumer insights will reflect households real inclination toward video content consumption in the coming months.

Parks Associates has announced the release of its latest Consumer Insights Dashboard, a new ongoing service that analyzes the firm’s quarterly surveys of 10,000 US broadband households to track consumer adoption of home services, including home internet, pay-TV, and mobile services.

Video content consumption has grown exponentially in the last 5 years. By 2022, online video is expected to eat a lion’s share of total internet traffic- 15x more than what it was in 2017. (Source: Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018–2023) White Paper). That’s why OTT subscriptions trends feature so extensively in our recent consumer insights coverage.

High-quality video resolution is available across OTT platforms. This makes the industry extremely attractive to media companies as well as audience groups. 72% of consumers report regularly using multiple platforms to consume video and over 40% view video on all tested platforms – TV and TV-connected devices, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and PCs.

Parks Associates Video Services Dashboard reveals 82% of US broadband households subscribe to at least one OTT service, up six points year-over-year, while 58% subscribe to a traditional pay-TV service, down four points year-over-year.

The research firm also reported 25% of US broadband households subscribe to a TV service offering a bundle of live channels via an online provider. 13% of these households have access to both traditional and online pay-TV services.

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At the time of this announcement, Steve Nason, Research Director, Parks Associates said –

“The steady rise in online pay-TV adoption has made up for some of the significant drops in traditional pay TV.  Video consumers are looking to online pay-TV services, either from a traditional provider or vMVPD, to offer a similar viewing experience and content offering to traditional pay TV but at a lower price point. However, online pay-TV providers, who don’t typically generate content on their own, have had trouble stabilizing subscriber costs as content fees continue to rise.”

In a recent report, Innovid published a study titled, “Innovid’s Global Omni-Channel Benchmarks Report” which found out global CTV impressions increased 60% year over year.

Adoption of vMVPDs, core online pay-TV services that offer bundles of live channels accessible via third-party connected devices, increased four percentage points to 18% in Q1 2021. As Cord-Cutters or Cord-Nevers look for a more live/linear video viewing experience online, vMVPD service uptake has picked up.

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many existing trends in the video services market,” Nason said. “Moving forward, consumer preferences will continue to shift online as video viewers perceive these services to be less costly, more convenient, and more aligned with how they want to consume video programming.”

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Given the current scenario, we can expect consumer insights to further lean toward OTT services, courtesy new launches, better innovations, B2B collaborations, multiple device integrations, and much more.

Parks Associates presents and analyzes the firm’s latest OTT video consumer data at virtual session “Impact of Connected Devices on the Video Experience,” at 12:30 PM CT, as part of the fourth annual Future of Video conference.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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