Live TV still top starting point for viewers, but SVODs are gaining

By Contributed

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The battle for consumers’ attention has shifted to streaming platforms and smart TV apps, according to a new report from Hub Entertainment Research, posing challenges for traditional cable and satellite providers.

The annual “Decoding the Default” survey found that while 46% of TV viewers still turn to live TV first, that number is down substantially from 62% five years ago in 2018. Streaming video-on-demand services (SVODs) like Netflix and Hulu have risen from 30% to 45% over the same period.

The report highlights the erosion of traditional cable and satellite dominance.

32% say they begin viewing through a smart TV app, up from 22% two years ago. Connected devices, like Apple and Roku, see 19% with traditional set top boxes at 30%.

Driving the shift is access to content. The top reasons for choosing a streaming service as the default were the variety of shows on Netflix and Prime Video, and access to favorite series on Disney+, HBO Max and Hulu.

For cable and vMVPDs, live sports and news remain critical. Over half of respondents who default to these services said live programming was the main draw.

Nearly half of current Netflix default users previously used cable or satellite TV as their first choice. But now Netflix is losing share to services like Disney+, which scored well for family viewing, and Hulu for catching up on current shows.

Live TV from any source still holds an edge as the single most common starting point at 46% of viewers. But its dominance has faded from years past.

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The findings are based on a survey of 1,601 U.S. consumers conducted in August 2023 by Hub, examining viewing habits and shifts in behavior over time.

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