Live TV has rebounded with consumers as the source of some of their favorite shows, seemingly at the expense of Netflix, according to the 2022 Conquering Content Research study from Hub Entertainment Research.

Nevertheless, the new report said streaming TV services continue to dominate traditional platforms as the home base for consumers’ recently-discovered favorite shows, but several high-profile, buzz-worthy shows have given live TV viewing new signs of life in 2022.

Among the findings of the latest study:

Hub said seven in 10 (71%) of respondents reported discovering a show in the past year that has become a favorite. A strong majority of those indicated that show came from a streaming service.

Seventy five percent of those who have discovered a favorite show watch it online vs. 23% who watch from a multichannel video distributor (MVPD) with live TV, video on demand, or a DVR. The remaining 2% watch their newly discovered show via over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV stations.

Hub said that up until this year, these two viewing sources have been moving in seemingly opposite directions. But something started to change in 2022:

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“The steady, year-by-year increase we’ve seen since 2016 for online sources as the home base for favorite shows has plateaued in 2022—the 75% proportion is identical to 2021,” the report stated. “On the flip side, the proportion watching their new favorite from an MVPD (cable/satellite/telco) set-top box has increased two points, from 21% in 2021.”

The report indicated several more significant changes coming when focusing on the two most popular sources for favorite-show viewing:

● The proportion saying their new favorite show is a Netflix show peaked in 2020 (at 38%), dropped 3 points to 35% in 2021, and has declined a more dramatic 6 points in 2022—to 29%.
● After reaching a low of 15% in 2021, live TV from a traditional MVPD service has jumped back up 6 points in 2022, to 21%.
● Also increasing since 2021: the “Big 5 SVODs (subscription video on demand providers)” outside of Netflix (Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max), up 4 points from 21% to 25%.
● Overall, the gap between Netflix and live TV is now only 8 points and Netflix and the other four top SVOD services, combined, is now only 4 points.

Hub said the rebound for MVPD in general and live TV in particular is explained by the specific favorite shows people have discovered.

“Of the 10 favorite shows viewers named most frequently, four of them—including three of the top four—are available on live TV: Yellowstone, House of the Dragon, Ghosts, and NCIS,” Hub said.

Source: Hub Entertainment Research

In other content news, Hub said its study found viewers continue to look for some way to search for content across all of the platforms they use, both linear and online.

“The proportion who agree (strongly or somewhat) that they want a `universal listing to find shows from any source’ has always been high in Conquering Content, but it’s even higher in 2022: 61%, up 6 points since last year,” Hub said.

Hub observed that some form of universal search already exists from devices such as Smart TVs and streaming media players, which 48% of consumers said they have today.

“But universal search is under performing, [and] those who have the capability use it only 41% of the time to find a specific show or movie when they don’t know what platform it’s on,” Hub found.

Source: Hub Entertainment Research

Once consumers do find a show or movie that intrigues them, the use of trailers has become increasingly important in making the viewing decision.

Hub said 63% stated they are more likely to try a new show if they can watch a trailer first.

“Not only are trailers more likely to influence decisions, but consumers are increasingly likely to discover shows from trailers that automatically play on a streaming interface,” said Hub.

Among those who discovered a show from a trailer, 78% said that it auto-played without them deliberately selecting it, up nearly 20 points since just last year.

“It’s clear from these results that viewers will happily go to whatever platform has exclusive rights to the most popular TV shows and movies du jour,” stated Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub. “Over the past few years, those shows have been increasingly offered by streaming services. But as franchises like Yellowstone and Game of Thrones demonstrate, streaming does not have a necessary monopoly on buzz-worthy content.”

The data drew upon 1,602 US consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. The data was collected in October 2022.

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By Greg Tarr

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