Over-the-top streaming entertainment viewers now face “a vast ocean” of options to choose from, giving premium service providers new challenges to remain competitive in the rapidly evolving online distribution space, according to a new study from media analyst Hub Entertainment Research.

The Hub study found strong brand and service awareness among the top premium service providers, with many of the services show more than 90% consumer awareness levels, but increasingly difficult to prove value propositions for those services as consumers become satisfied that the know what each of the competing Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) services has to offer.

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The research indicates that as of January 2023, 41% of respondents said they had signed up for a new streaming service in the past year had signed up for a new streaming service just to watch one show. This was up from 35% in 2021, and further showed that this was true of 57% of those under age 35 (a very valuable demographic to programming providers) and 54% of households with children.

The most common reason that people gave for dropping a streaming subscription was “ran out of things to watch”, putting greater onus on distributors to continue to churn out new programming options. But Hub pointed out that these providers are forced to come up with creative ways to do more with smaller production and acquistion budgets.

The research suggests that creating a discovery “chain” is a powerful way to battle churn as people believe they have run out of things to watch.

Source: Hub Entertainment Research

“Leveraging the brands of key IP is a powerful way to do just that,” Hub’s study announcement suggests. “For example: in January 2023, 29% of respondents said they had watched “Yellowstone”. Of those, 70% said they had gone on to watch one or more of the shows related to “Yellowstone” (direct spinoffs or shows promoted as coming from Taylor Sheridan/the creators of “Yellowstone”). That number is good by any standard, but it’s especially impressive when you consider the effort implied: “Yellowstone” can only be watched on cable or Peacock, while all those other shows require a subscription to Paramount+.”

“Content has always been king. But as the streaming ecosystem gets more crowded, the role of IP branding on which platforms viewers sign up for and keep is more direct than ever,” stated Hub principal and founder Jon Giegengack. “And at a time when mitigating churn has become job one for providers, valuable IP will be more valuable than ever.”

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By Greg Tarr

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