Consumers’ favorite streaming bundles include one or more ad-supported services, and YouTube and Facebook dominate the AVOD usage, according to TiVo’s just-released Video Trends Report for Q4 2019.
The report, reflecting a survey of more than 6,000 viewers ages 18 or older in the U.S. and Canada, found that the most-used bundle (38% of respondents) consists of Facebook, YouTube and pay TV, followed by Facebook, Netflix and YouTube (29%), and free video (from network sites or apps) combined with Facebook and YouTube (also 29%).
All 11 of the top bundle choices (above) include at least one AVOD service.
YouTube remains the most popular source of free streaming content — cited by 73.1% of viewers — up from 57.9% in 2018, although down slightly from Q2 2019’s 75.1%. Facebook is close behind, at 62.3% (up from 43.9% in 2018, down from Q2 2019’s 63.8%).
Free video from network sites comes in third (45.3%, up from just 13.4% in 2018), followed by Snapchat (29.3%), Roku Channel (24.4%), Pluto TV (20.1%), Crackle (18.5%), Tubi (18.4%), Vevo (17.6%), and Xumo (8.7%).*
Furthermore, 37.5% say they are “very satisfied” with AVODs (up from 35.4% in 2018), versus 33.1% who say the same about SVODs (down from 33.5% in 2018).
However, AVODs command just 15 minutes per day of viewers’ time, on average, versus 76 minutes for SVOD, 58 for vMVPDs, 57 for sports streaming, and 33 for social media platforms.
Speaking of vMVPDs — which as a class have been experiencing struggles due to pricing pressures — some saw gains in Q4. Hulu+ Live TV rose to 8% usage (up from about 7% in Q2 and 2018), Sling TV rose to 3.7% (vs. 3% in 2018). AT&T TV was basically flat vs. Q2, at 4.2% (though down from 6% in 2018). YouTube TV continued its decline (now at 7% vs. 12% in 2018), as did PlayStation Vue (which has been shut down by Sony since this survey).
In terms of how many viewers watch at least one hour per day, live TV barely edged out OTT, at 57% and 56.3%, respectively.
DVR-ed content and live sports came in third, at 39.4%.
Nearly 36% watch an hour or more of live sports/sporting events from cable/satellite providers, while 20% do the same with sports content from streaming services.
For local content, pay TV plus antenna are the favored source (65.2%), followed by social media apps (15.5%), OTT/subscriptions services (8.5%) and other “free” video apps (5.8%).
Eight of the nine mobile video apps from TV networks tracked in the survey showed at least a 1% to 2% decline versus 2018 in percentages of respondents reporting using them. The exception was NBC’s, up by less than 1%.
U.S. Viewers Want 22 Channels @ About $30
U.S. respondents want an average of 22 channels in their TV packages, and are willing to pay $33+ per month to access them.
A third (32.5%) of all respondents indicated they’re not interested in the ability to choose the individual channels they want to watch.
Of these, 30.5% said there are simply too many channels to choose from, 26.4% said the process of choosing à la carte elements would take too long, and 23.9% said they’d prefer their video service to choose for them based on previous viewing habits.
Nearly three quarters of all respondents (72%) want the ability to view, browse and search available content from a unified experience or interface.
Password Sharing on the Rise
While the number of survey respondents reporting they subscribe to cable/satellite service has decreased year-over-year, nearly 77% are holding on.
In fact, 85.3% of respondents plan to stay with their current pay-TV provider, switch to another pay-TV provider, or are undecided about their plans in the next six months.
Just under 15% said they plan to eliminate pay TV in the next six months, which is 4% lower than in 2018. Of those, 34.3% plan to switch to a vMVPD.
Eighty percent of those planning to cut the cord cited cost as the reason (down from 70% in 2018), 17% said they will move to using just an internet streaming service (vs. 14% in 201), and 39% said they will go to using only an antenna to get basic channels.
But dropping pay TV in favor of “sharing an account with family/friends” saw the largest jump: up to 13.3%, from just 2.9% in 2018.
Services-Per-Viewer Number Leaps to 7 After Method Change
In Q2 2019, TiVo’s survey found respondents using an average of 2.75 video services — defined as including pay TV, OTT SVOD, linear TV and premium online video (both free and paid).
For the Q4 survey, the average “services” per respondent (not household) leaped to 6.9. This report now also shows the average numbers for 2018, 2017 and 2016 at 6.3, 5 and 4, respectively.
Asked about this gap, TiVo said that, after analyzing the response volumes in the previous reports, it “took measures in the latest version to ensure that most, if not all, the questions were mandatory... This of course led to a much higher volume of responses to the questions around service usage,” driving up the average. The new method “also means the averages here moving forward are much more valid,” the company maintains.
The new numbers for previous years were recalculated using the same baseline number of responses.
TiVo also argues that, while seven services per respondent may seem excessive, it’s “not all that crazy” when the "hundreds" of AVOD services on the market are taken into account. The survey also doesn’t make any distinction between long-form and short-form video content, “which likely boosts the average a bit,” the company says.
Its definition of “services” for the latest survey includes pay TV (cable, satellite, managed IPTV services), vMVPDs, SVODs, and free AVOD services (network apps/sites, Vudu, Roku channel, social media sites that offer video, etc.).
* Some of the percentages cited in this sentence were misattributed by TiVo in the graph in its original report. The sentence now reflects TiVo's corrected information.