- The number of pay TV subscribers, now 73%, continues to fall, as the number of cord cutters and trimmers continues to rise, according to PwC's "I Stream, You Stream: Winning in a Video World." The survey, whose findings were made available to Marketing Dive, looked at 2,000 U.S. respondents.
- Among those respondents, 27% said they are "cord trimmers," up from last year's 22%, and 19% reported being cord cutters, an increase over last year's 17%. Streaming subscribers continue to grow as well: The number of respondents using Netflix hit 73%, which is the same as those who subscribe to pay TV, the survey found. And, 46% say they've acquired streaming within the past six months. Users age 50-59 make up the highest growth segment of streamers at 63%, compared to 48% in 2016.
- Accessing live sports is keeping many viewers from cutting the cord, the survey showed. Among sports fans, 81% subscribe to pay TV, but 82% of those subscribers would trim or cut the cord if it weren't for sports. These respondents also said they would pay $23 per month for unlimited live sports on any platform.
PwC's fifth-annual survey of consumers' TV and video viewing habits reinforces that, while paid cable and broadcast TV are feeling the pinch from cord-cutting, they're unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon, with sports content remaining a linchpin destination viewing draw. This will be a space to watch next year with big events like the Winter Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup and, of course, the Super Bowl.
A recent sports outlook from PwC forecast that the sports media market will grow at a compound annual rate of 3% through 2021 across segments including media rights, and suggested that — at least for those next several years — broadcast rights are going to take precedence over digital rights to avoid the further diluting of rights fees.
The surge in streaming subscriptions still presents an opportunity for advertisers to learn from. In the more recent survey, 54% of respondents reported noticing advertising when they watch videos, and 65% research the products they see advertised. More than half of sports fans surveyed wanted the ability to chat with fellow fans and access interactive content, like stats and interviews.
Despite the growth of streaming subscriptions, PwC found that the increasing number of services — which now include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and more — can be overwhelming for consumers: 75% said they can't handle using more than four in addition to pay TV, and most said they only watch two regularly. Exclusive content and original programming often lure viewers, but not necessarily long-term subscribers, according to PwC. Many admitted to signing up for free trials to access a certain show and then canceling the subscription after a binge-watching session.
To meet the demand for original programs and content, many TV and video streaming platforms are increasing their budgets in 2018. Netflix plans to spend $8 billion on original programming and plans to have a library that is 50% original content by the end of 2018. Disney, with its recent acquisition of some Fox properties, including Hulu, has been speculated to be gearing up to be a bigger competitor with Netflix (it's also planning to launch a seperate streaming service in 2019).