Library Content Drives Streaming Service Subscriptions

What are consumers looking for when they subscribe to a streaming video service? The conventional wisdom is that original series, such as Netflix’s “House of Cards” and Hulu’s ”The Handmaid’s Tale,” are the subscription drivers.

But a new survey conducted earlier this month by SurveyMonkey suggests that may not be the case.

According to the survey, 57% of respondents say they watch streaming video services more for TV shows and movies that have already been released. Meanwhile, 43% of respondents said they subscribe primarily for original TV shows and movies.

When asked what was their favorite show to watch on each streaming service, 15% of respondents picked original shows for Hulu,  compared to 38% for Amazon Prime, and 46% for Netflix.

Those responses suggest that, while most consumers may not subscribe to a service specifically for original shows, they do watch them as part of the package of programming they receive. 

While streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu continue to invest billions of dollars in original series, the new survey suggests they should not ignore the vast libraries their services are built upon.

Of course, as content owners pull back content to launch their own services, as CBS has already done with CBS All Access, and as Disney plans to do over the next few years, today's streaming leaders need to invest in originals that can become the video libraries of tomorrow.

The survey also noted that consumers are willing to pay a premium for streaming content. When respondents were asked where they would spend a hypothetical $100 for channels in their cable subscription, streaming channels came out on top, garnering an average of $21 spent.

Millennials were the most likely to spend on streaming, with respondents age 18-34 spending an average of $24, while respondents 50+ spent $19.

For comparison, live sports channels garnered only $13 out of the $100, while children’s programming drew an average of $10.

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