TV programming providers are facing significant “headwinds” in generating continued subscriber growth as the era of “peak TV” comes to an end, according to newly released data from Hub Entertainment Research.

The Portsmouth, N.H.-based media analyst has just released its “Monetization of Video” survey showing most consumers are now either at or near their maximum number of TV sources, and either not looking to or are unwilling to spend more money on video entertainment.

The survey found nearly half of all respondents say they have reached their video content source maximum — which on average is seven. That also happens to be the limit for the average number of services mentioned by one-third of respondents who say they still might add services.

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On the plus side for content providers, Hub said “consumers are still spending more. Nearly half of consumers (44%) say they are spending more on TV than a year ago, and that’s up from 34% who said the same in 2020.”

But the average video entertainment outlay of $85 per month “is 25% more than what they consider reasonable for video services.”

Those who spend the most are also “the most likely to churn,” the study shows.

“The more subscriptions a household has, the more likely they are to cancel a new subscription within 6 months of acquiring it. The majority of those with 4 or more subscriptions say they canceled a new service within six months,” Hub said.

As with most things, consumers are looking for value in their entertainment choices.

The study shows low price as the top determinant of value in a programming service for most respondents, followed by price stability, second, and a large content library, third.

Consumers say they also find value in bundling subscription video on demand (SVOD) services with multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPD – cable, satellite pay TV).

Hub said that among the substantial segment of consumers who do not have an MVPD service subscription, two thirds indicated that integrating SVODs into an MVPD set-top-box would make a pay-TV service more valuable to them. This was up from 59% a year ago.

“The video ecosystem is clearly at an inflection point. Gone are the days when providers could reliably count on revenue growth from new subscribers,” stated Mark Loughney, Hub senior consultant. “This leads to a quandary: how to deliver the volume of content necessary to keep subscribers loyal, while at the same time controlling production costs. Reconciling this dilemma will be the key to long term success in the video marketplace.”

The Hub “2023 Monetization of Video” survey was conducted in June 2023 and included 1,602 U.S. broadband users between the ages of 16-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week.

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By Greg Tarr

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