In case there’s any doubt about why OTT services — particularly those supported by advertising — have been pushing to broaden their content offerings, a new survey confirms that even viewers who say they favor at least one video content genre spend 70% of their viewing time, on average, on broad-based services like Netflix, Tubi and AMC+.
Specifically, 44% spend 76% or more of their OTT viewing time on broad-based services, and 48% spend 25% or less of viewing time on niche services, according to a content-preferences survey of 5,000 U.S. broadband households by Parks Associates.
“Services offering a variety of content categories are the foundation of consumers’ video service ensembles,” sums up Paul Erickson, senior analyst, Parks Associates.
While many niche services, including ones dedicated to horror, religious, children’s and anime content, have been successful — and niche services such as ESPN+, Britbox and Crunchyroll are an important part of the service ecosystem — "they are unlikely to be the primary, foundational content source within a household,” he says.
To challenge the “Big Three” OTT services —Netflix, Amazon, Hulu — other services need to feature a variety of programming across genres, says Erickson. That’s why ad-based OTT services, in particular, have sought to broaden their appeal by incorporating different genres in the past few years.
Crackle has significantly expanded beyond its nonfiction content, Pluto TV has added several sports channels, and Tubi TV has been spotlighting its Tubi Kids content section.
And Erickson predicts that we’ll see more bundling services along the model used by AMC, which bundled its niche services Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films under the AMC+ service umbrella to give viewers more options.
Still, while content is critical, the survey also confirms that cost is still the No. 1 consideration in choosing an OTT service — cited by half of respondents. Hence the combination of premium-priced, ad-free and cheaper, ad-supported options offered by Peacock, HBO Max and Paramount+.
“Maximizing revenue potential with hybrid pricing will help services finance the growing cost of content library growth,” notes Erickson.