6 Million U.S. Households Add New Streaming Services in Q1

It could mean good news for AVOD services like Tubi, Pluto TV and Xumo, as habits evolve

The widespread stay-at-home orders have accelerated the adoption of streaming, with about 6 million Americans adding a new streaming service during the first quarter, according to new research shared by Parks Associates on Tuesday.

More Americans are also gravitating towards live TV streaming services while stuck at home, too; adoption of services like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV increased 12% during Q1, according to survey results. With more viewers gravitating towards streaming, Parks Associate Research Director Steve Nason expects more Americans will look to advertising video on demand (AVOD) services to offset their spending on subscriptions.

“We are closely tracking shifts in technology use at home, as shelter-in-place orders have continued as a result of COVID-19,” Nason said.  “Consumers are experimenting with watching video on different services and different devices. We anticipate a number of changes to occur, including higher consumption combined with reduced spending per month on services, which could boost ad-based services, as well as shifts in what content consumers are watching.”

That’s good news for companies like Tubi, Viacom’s Pluto TV and Xumo, which was recently acquired by Comcast. 

The research firm found that, after the 6 million new streaming additions in Q1, 76% of all U.S. households with broadband service now subscribe to at least one streaming service. Parks Associates reached its estimate after surveying 10,000 Americans between late March and early April.

It comes as little surprise that viewers looked towards feel-good content as the pandemic hit. According to Reelgood, a firm tracking streaming services, popular genres over the last 6 weeks have been comedy, faith and spirituality, as well as kids content; horror, war and crime movies and shows saw a slight decline during that time.

There were already signs, even before Parks Associates reported 6 million people added new services, that streaming had increased because of the pandemic. Netflix, when it reported its Q1 earnings last week, posted a company-record 15.8 million new subscribers — easily trumping its previous record of 9.6 million for a single quarter. A little more than 2.3 million of those new Netflix customers came from the U.S. and Canada, representing a 23% spike when compared to Q1 2019. 

Roku, meanwhile, announced earlier this month that its customers watched 13.2 billion hours of content during Q1, which averages out to each customer watching 3.75 hours of content per day for three straight months.

Interestingly, streaming’s gains don’t seem to be coming at the expense of traditional cable and satellite providers, as usual. For the first time in 8 years, Americans are projected to watch more TV than they had the previous year, with TheWrap reporting on Tuesday the average American viewer is expected to watch 2.75 hours of TV per day — up 12.6% from last year.

Sean Burch

Sean Burch

Tech reporter • [email protected] • @seanb44 


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