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Stream Nation: U.S. Consumers Spend $2 Billion Monthly on Streaming Video Services

Americans are watching more streaming video than ever — and they now pay an estimated $2 billion each month on subscription-video services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

That’s according to the Deloitte’s 2018 Digital Media Trends Survey, which found found that 55% of U.S. households now subscribe to at least one video-streaming service (up from 10% in 2009).

The average streaming-video subscriber pays for three different services — amounting to $2.1 billion per month in revenue, according to the study. Deloitte calculated the figure based on the Census Bureau’s estimate of 126 million U.S. households for 2017.

At the same time, Deloitte’s survey found a drop in pay-TV subscriptions: 63% of U.S. households subscribe to a traditional cable, satellite or telco service, down from 74% in 2016. Pay TV’s decline is especially pronounced among Gen Z (ages 14-20), millennials (ages 21-34) and Generation X (ages 35-51). Indeed, 22% of millennials say they have never subscribed to a pay-TV service.

The survey found, on average, that Americans watch 38 hours per week of video content, of which 39% is streamed and 61% is on live TV. For younger audiences, streaming is bulk of their video diet: Gen Zers watch 22 hours of streaming video weekly vs. 16 hours of TV, and Millennials watch 19 hours of streaming video vs. 15 hours of live TV.

Overall, about 48% of all U.S. consumers stream TV content at least weekly, versus 37% in 2016.

“Consumers now enjoy unparalleled freedom in selecting media and entertainment options and their expectations are at an all-time high,” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. media and entertainment leader for Deloitte. “The rapid growth of streaming services and high-quality original content has created a significant opportunity to monetize the on-demand environment in 2018.”

Deloitte also coined a new demographic designation: “MilleXZials,” a blending of Gen Z, millennial and Gen X. That’s based on the survey’s finding that the media behavior among the three cohorts has become more similar with respect to how they consume streaming video and pay TV.

Some media execs “hoped that as millennials got older, they would settle down and watch pay TV,” noted said Dr. Jeff Loucks, executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications. But instead, Gen Xers are acting more like younger consumers in their adoption of streaming services, smartphones and binge-watching.

For example, 70% of Gen Z households had a streaming subscription, closely followed by millennials at 68% and Gen X at 64%. About 70% of Gen Z and millennials stream movies compared with 60% of Gen X viewers on a weekly basis. Some 96% “MilleXZials” multitask while watching TV.

Other findings from the Deloitte study:

  • Binge-Watching Continues to Grow: 75% of all consumers say they have binge-watched TV, and of those 34% engage in binge-viewing weekly. Among millennials, 86% say they binge watch (and of those 42% do so weekly), watching an average of seven episodes per sitting.
  • Pay-TV Unhappiness Remains High: 70% of pay-TV subscribers feel they get too little value for their money — squaring with other recent research showing price is the No. 1 factor in driving cord-cutting. About 56% of current pay-TV customers say they keep their subscription because it’s bundled with their home broadband.
  • Americans Want More Control Over Online Data: 69% of U.S. consumers said companies are not doing everything they can to protect their personal data, and 93% believe they should be able to delete their online data when they want.

It’s the 12th annual edition of the Deloitte survey, formerly called the “Digital Democracy Survey.” The firm conducted an online survey of 2,088 consumers in November 2017 for the latest report.

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