Hub Report: Live TV Rebounds


The latest edition of Hub Entertainment Research’s Conquering Content annual study has found that live TV rebounded this year thanks to some high-profile, buzzworthy shows, even as streaming continues to dominate viewing habits.

According to the report, 71 percent of consumers said they discovered a new show in the last year that has become a favorite, and a majority found those shows on streaming platforms, with just 23 percent discovering it on live TV, VOD or a DVR. However, Hub notes, “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 percent proportion is identical to 2021. On the flip side, the proportion watching their new favorite from an MVPD set-top box has increased two points, from 21 percent in 2021.”

Among the favorite shows that drove live TV viewing this year were Yellowstone, House of the Dragon, Ghosts and NCIS. Favorite streaming shows include Stranger Things, The Handmaid’s Tale, Ozark and Only Murders in the Building.

The share of people who found their favorite new show on Netflix peaked at 38 percent in 2020 and has slipped to 29 percent this year. The “Big 5 SVODs” outside of Netflix—Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max—are up 4 points to 25 percent.

The study also illustrates consumer frustration with content discovery, with 61 percent of respondents seeking a “universal listing to find shows from any source,” while 48 percent say they already have that capability. However, for those who do have it, it’s only used 41 percent of the time to find a specific show. As for how shows are chosen, 63 percent of consumers say they are more likely to sample something if there’s a trailer available first. Among those who discovered a show from a trailer, 78 percent say that it auto-played without them deliberately selecting it, up nearly 20 points since just last year.

“Insert overused expression here: ‘content is king,’ etc. But cliché or not, 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,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the report. “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.”