Customers to Have More Streaming Options This Year

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Streaming TV is set to go places, with more content, binge-watching audiences and competitors expected this year. Entertainment giants WarnerMedia and Walt Disney are among the major players who are set to roll out streaming services, leveraging their massive TV and film libraries in an effort to challenge Netflix for streaming dominance.

Over the top TV bypasses cable and distributes video to audiences through an internet broadband connection. Besides Netflix, key players comprise subscription video on demand (VoD) services like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, and live streaming services like DIRECTV NOW®, and Sling TV™.

Over seventy-three million households in the US subscribe to at least one OTT service, a number that keeps growing in lockstep with a wide range of offerings, suggested Parks Associates’ digital entertainment director of research, Brett Sappington. “It’s the year of consumer choice because there are so many of them,” he said.

Audiences can select from 226 OTT video streaming service options, with big names such as HBO Now® and CBS All Access® competing with upstarts like Philo, Pure Flix, and FuboTV. Most services give some type of subscription to customers, but combined models including pay-per-view and advertising are more and more common.

Usual streaming packages average around $10 a month, with several households subscribing to over one service. Sappington said, “When you’re talking $10 a month, it’s not a big hit on household income to pick up one more service.”

MoffettNathanson says that while internet television has been growing, traditional subscription-TV providers lost 1.1 million customers in the 2018 third quarter alone. The cord cutting practice is accelerating, with around 90 million traditional subscription-TV customers in the US, down from just about 97 million subs two years ago.

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While streaming may be a catalyst for cord cutting, several traditional pay-TV customers also have at least an OTT service as well, Sappington suggested. “Essentially, if you like video, you’re likely to have both. Services like Netflix, they have content you can’t get on pay TV.”

Having programs you cannot get elsewhere has made it a must-subscribe service for millions of audiences. However, the competition is anticipated to arrive this year with the rollout of streaming services by WarnerMedia and Walt Disney.

The former refers to the unit of AT&T®. The Dallas-based fastest internet provider, which completed the Time Warner® acquisition last year, announced plans to begin its streaming service in this year’s fourth quarter. Its division brings with it accesses to well-known content that comprises HBO shows such as “Game of Thrones” and the “Harry Potter” films.

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