The number of U.S. broadband households subscribing to two or more OTT services has more than doubled since 2014, according to a new study by streaming media tracker Parks Associates.
Nearly half — 46% — of all broadband homes have multiple OTT subscriptions, the study found, up from 33% in 2017 and 20% in 2014. At the threshold of one OTT subscription, not two or more, nearly three-quarters of all broadband homes check the box, up from 52% in 2014.
In that five-year span from 2014-19, the number of subscription streaming offerings increased by 140%, Parks said, though the firm has noted the leveling-off of late. At the start of 2019, there were 235 subscription services in the U.S., which is flat compared with 2018.
Parks senior analysts Steve Nason said the majority of households subscribing to OTT video are signed up with streaming’s “Big 3” — Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. Even so, he noted in the report, “Consumers are finding they can’t fulfill all their interests through a single service. Many small and medium-sized services are building their brand and subscriber base by filling in these gaps in content.”
Among the 235 total services available, about 90 (or 38%) have fewer than 50,000 subscribers and 72 of them have fewer than 20,000 paying customers.
Aggregators like Amazon Prime Video Channels have played an increasingly central role in launching subscription services, with three out of 10 of them being available via Amazon — four times the rate of just two years ago.
“Netflix can afford to license high-value content like Seinfeld to supplement its original content, and Apple can buy commercial space during the Emmys and NFL games to promote its upcoming Apple TV+ service and its array of content and stars,” Nason said. “By contrast, smaller OTT services are having to harness the power of a partnership with an aggregator, bundling or content partner, or marketing and promotion partner to boost awareness of their brand and offerings.”
A formidable customer acquisition ROI equation faces soon-to-launch streaming entrants from Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia. But they also might thin the herd.
In a previous report, Parks said these “heavy-hitters will exacerbate the rate in service closures/consolidations by drawing subscribers away from incumbent players. While these new services should contribute to an increase in the number of OTT subscribing households, the number of services available will likely experience the inverse.”
Here’s a chart from Parks illustrating the broadband growth since 2017:
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