While price is consistently shown as a top impediment to stacking streaming services, the number of entertainment options available and the complexity of using multiple streamers are just as big of an obstacle, according to the latest wave of streaming research from Hub Entertainment.
The Hub survey, conducted in March with 3,000 U.S. entertainment decision-makers with broadband, ages 18 to 74, found 82% saying that budget is the main factor limiting their number of subscriptions, but the same percentage agreeing that there is a limit to how many platforms they can use, even if they could afford to have them all.
Some of this has to do with a proliferation of entertainment options, with gaming and social media taking greater shares of time and disposable income. The average household uses about the same number of premium video sources and non-video sources: 6.1 and 6.7, respectively. Young people and households with kids use significantly more non-video sources.
Across categories — including video, audio, gaming, social media, podcasts and reading — the average household is using 12.7 different sources, which is the same as found in 2022’s survey. Younger consumers use more (15.8, on average), and households with kids use the most (16.3).
But regardless of segment, consumers only consider about half their sources to be “must haves” (“something my household can’t do without”). All the others are classified as “nice to have — something they might miss if it were gone, but not essential. The 50-50 ratio of “must haves” versus “nice to haves” is consistent across segments.
The research “underscores the threat churn represents to entertainment providers,” notes Jon Giegengack, principal at Hub and one of the study’s authors. “Consumers are using many sources, but only half of them are considered essential: the others are at risk of being cut. But the data also show the opportunity for companies that can simplify the user experience. Complexity is as big an impediment as cost — and for companies trying to maximize their bottom line, creating a simpler experience should be more palatable than cutting their price.”