Horowitz Research: SVOD Sees Declines, AVOD Poised for Gains


The percentage of U.S. consumers subscribing to at least one SVOD service fell from 74 percent last year to 62 percent this year, according to Horowitz Research.

An additional 10 percent of American consumers have access to more SVOD services by borrowing passwords, Horowitz’s State of Pay TV, OTT & SVOD 2022 report adds. The percentage of viewers using free, ad-supported services (antennas as well as AVOD platforms), however, remained stable at 66 percent.

The report also notes that cable and satellite penetration has slipped to 51 percent from 63 percent last year and 81 percent in 2020.

Horowitz Research also tracks the monthly cost consumers are paying for streaming services, which has risen due to the arrival of new players and rate increases. On average, U.S. streaming subs are shelling out $75.80 per month for SVOD and vMVPD services, up $26 a month from the reported average spend last year. And consumers are still struggling with discovery, with 40 percent saying they “have a hard time finding something to watch.”

With streaming costs inching up toward pay-TV levels, perceptions of streaming as delivering better value than cable/satellite are waning. Last year, 49 percent of consumers without cable/satellite services felt they were “saving a really good amount of money” by just relying on streaming; as of this year, that number has slipped to 39 percent. Providers will need to remain vigilant about reducing churn: 18 percent of SVOD subscribers are planning to cancel at least one of their services.

“It seems the streaming honeymoon is coming to an unavoidable end,” noted Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights and strategy lead for Horowitz Research. “What seemed like a fantasy come true—thousands upon thousands of hours of top-notch content available on-demand for almost no money and few, if any, ads —was never going to be a sustainable business model, given what it costs to produce and acquire great content. The next phase in this maturing industry will be a reset. We expect to see more advertising in free or low-cost, ad-supported tiers, such as the one Netflix is planning to offer, and more consolidation of services and subscriptions like what just happened with Discovery and WarnerMedia. Hopefully, for the consumer, this will translate to some cost savings, more predictable spending and an even better user experience across the board. It will also translate to new opportunities for brands and advertisers to connect with audiences in new and innovative, interactive ways.”