What’s Most Important When Choosing a Streaming Service?




couple watching tv

couple watching tvOne thing’s for sure about the current streaming landscape: we’ve never had more options. 

Whether it’s a smaller, ad-supported service like Tubi, a mid-sized network-specific service like CBS All Access, or a large consolidation of content like Netflix, there’s a lot to choose from.

As new services come on to the scene almost monthly, a question arises: why do people choose the services they do? Fortunately, we have some data from Nielsen to give insight. 

This data comes from the Streaming Wars edition of the Nielsen Total Audience Report.

First, we should note that most Americans do want streaming television. 60% of people subscribe to at least one streaming service, and of that 60%, 93% say they plan on keeping their existing services. 

When asked what was the most important factor when it came to choosing a service, the answer on top wasn’t surprising. Just like almost anything consumer-related, cost is king. 84% of people said price was extremely or very important when choosing a service and 42% of people said the main reason they canceled a service was the price not matching value.

Ease of use was right behind price in importance (you could also read this as “I just want to use what I’ve always used”), which is ironically a primary reason many people still carry cable. 

A variety of content found third place on the list with actual quality of the stream in fourth and speed of service (things like loading screens or menu selection) in fifth. Ads really aren’t a factor for many streaming customers as the ability to skip ads or a lack of ads both landed pretty near the bottom of the list of features people deem important.

The ability to watch live content landed in last in importance when it comes to picking a streaming service. 

When it comes to choosing additional services beyond a primary streaming service, most people said they simply want to expand their content options in general. But about 37% of people have signed up for a streaming service to watch a specific show that’s not available anywhere else.  

What we learn from this data is that people have a number of things they find important in a streaming service. And while cost is the single most important factor for choosing a main service, 4 out of the top 5 total reasons for choosing additional services were directly related to content. 

It’s clear that streaming has started to overtake traditional television, but it’ll be interesting to follow the battle that’s now brewing among streaming competitors. And like any industry, they’re going to have to evolve to survive. 

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