Consumers now use an average of 7.4 sources to satisfy their viewing needs, making the first program source they access when turn on the TV critically important, according to Hub Entertainment Research’s latest 2022 Best Bundle study.

With so much stacking of programming options, Hub said determining the “default” viewing platform is an important indicator of viewing share.

Hub’s study is intended to help programmers understand which platforms are considered by viewers as their “home base,” which the analyst said provides a better metric of success than subscriber numbers alone.

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As an example, the firm said Netflix experienced a “rough” first half of 2022, as it tallied subscriber losses in both Q1 and Q2. But at the same time, they maintained a strong position as the “default” source of TV for many viewers.

Hub’s annual “Decoding the Default” study shows that about a quarter of viewers said they consider Netflix “the first thing they turn on when they want to watch TV,” which is a roughly equivalent number to those who default to live TV, and more than the next 4 biggest SVODs combined, Hub said.

“As new subscriber growth slows, keeping existing users will be the top priority. And establishing your platform as a TV home base is perhaps the most effective way to mitigate churn,” Hub said.

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In the same study, Hub asked respondents which of their subscriptions they’d keep if they could only have one.

“Viewers who said a particular platform was their default source were 2x – 8x more likely to keep it, than users of that platform in general. (As evidence of the advantage default providers hold, Netflix returned to growth in Q3 2022),” Hub said.

“With continuous subscriber growth no longer a given, keeping as many existing users as possible becomes even more important. Platforms that viewers consider their “first stop” for TV are much less susceptible to churn, and becoming the default choice for existing subs require different strategic choices – cadence of new releases, brand identity, etc. – than acquiring brand new users,” stated Jon Giegengack, Hub principal and founder.

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By Greg Tarr

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