Juggling more streaming services than ever before? You’re not the only one.
New data shared by research firm Parks Associates shows Americans are increasingly willing to stack subscription services like Netflix, Disney+ and even live TV streaming services like YouTube TV. Parks Associates recently surveyed 10,000 Americans with access to broadband or high-speed internet and had one key takeaway: 46% of U.S. households now pay for four or more streaming services, which is up from 22% just a year ago. In other words, the number of Americans with four or more services has more than doubled in the last year.
(Note: 88% of all U.S. households have access to broadband or high-speed internet, per Parks Associates. That would come out to about 111 million U.S. households, meaning there are 52 million with at least four streaming subscriptions.)
This is a dramatic shift from where the streaming landscape was even just a few years ago. In 2019, less than one out of 10 American households with access to broadband internet paid for four or more streaming services; now, it’s close to one out of every two American households who’ve stacked four services. And overall, 82% of U.S. households with high-speed internet access subscribe to at least one streaming service — up from 65% in 2017.
What happened? Steve Nason, a research director with Parks Associates, said several factors have contributed to “the rise of service stacking.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is chief among them over the last year; when you can’t go out to a movie, concert or baseball game, adding another subscription service is one of your few options for scratching your entertainment itch. But the pandemic’s impact was accelerated by the ongoing rollout of several new services, Nason said, including HBO Max and Peacock’s debuts last year and the launch of Discovery+ in January. (The “Big 4” streaming services — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu, which Disney runs — still carry most of the streaming weight in the States, Nason added.)
Americans also are more willing to drop their cable or satellite services, Nason said, and add live TV streaming services from Hulu, Sling and YouTube — which is helping more people into that “four or more” streaming services category.
“Before COVID happened, I thought — even though some of these new services were coming out — people would settle on two, three, or four services,” Nason said. “But the wallets don’t seem to be hurting that much, and people are still adding [new services] on.”
Parks Associates’ research is the latest signal Americans are more comfortable racking up streaming services. As TheWrap reported earlier this year, the average American household is now spending $40 per month on streaming, up 17% from the same time last year. And moving forward, Nason said he wouldn’t be surprised if having four streaming services became more common than not for the average American household.
“At this point, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight [to service stacking].”