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Half of All US Households Now Subscribe to Streaming Service

Streamed content providers are celebrating this month as the industry reaches a key milestone: SVOD (subscription video on demand) is now found in 50 percent of all US homes. So what does mean for competitor industries? And, as SVOD continues to grow in popularity, what developments can we expect to see in the market?

SVOD companies such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have, in the first quarter of 2016, been found to have penetrated 50 percent of US homes, according to the Nielsen Total Audience Report – that brings SVOD up to the same level of popularity as digital video recorders (DVRs)!


In fact, on-demand services in general (SVOD and DVR) can now be found in 72 percent of American households, marking a significant shift in the way consumers view television.

Previously, of course, viewers were constrained to the timetables of their favourite stations, and either had to block off a portion of time each week to catch their favourite shows, tape them, or simply miss out. Now, however, whether through SVOD or DVR, viewers are able to fit their shows around their lives, and that has (and is) proving to be incredibly popular.

However, the whilst Nielson Total Audience report shows that the growth of DVR has plateaued, SVOD is expected to continue to grow at a rapid rate. Indeed, the report predicts that, presumably due to its ease of use, original content, and the lack of hardware required, SVOD will likely eclipse DVR in the near future.

Though its results are not all together surprising, the report really highlights the fact that traditional cable companies will have to adapt to new consumer wants in order to survive. In a recent post, I argued that getting Millennials back on board is cable’s best hope for survival. But, since Millennials biggest demand is for high-quality on-demand content that they can watch in their own time, it’s not clear how cable companies will be able to cater for this – save for moving toward the SVOD model themselves.

As SVOD continues to grow, then, we will likely see traditional cable companies entering or committing themselves to the market in an unprecedented way. For consumers, the influx of new market players and lots more money will mean plenty more original on-demand content and better deals as SVOD companies fight to get a decent market share. Well, I can’t complain about that.

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