Free viewing increases lead over SVOD

Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 
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Omdia: YouTube tops most popular video services as free viewing increases lead over SVOD

LONDON — Exclusive new data from Omdia has revealed that after more than five years of an increase in stacking behaviors, the once-dominant model is beginning to show signs of strain. According to Omdia’s analysis from November 2023, the number of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services per home has declined in a number of markets for the first time. Simultaneously, free video stacking is still on the rise.

Average number of video services - Pay TV, SVOD, Free/AVOD (BVOD, Social, FAST, Free GV, AVOD, Other) - per video user - US, UK - Nov2021-Nov2023

YouTube’s continued growth as the top video service provider in key markets, has been fundamental to the growth of the sector’s lead over paid video content. This has been buoyed further by strong growth in other social video platforms and Free ad-supported television (FAST) services.

Unveiling new insights at Connected TV World Summit 2024 this week, Research Director in Omdia’s Media and Entertainment practice, Maria Rua Aguete commented: “ The appetite for free content is ever-increasing and the major streamers are clearly leaning into this as a strategy; by end of 2024, all major SVOD services will have advertising tiers.”

FAST services have continued their upward trajectory in the US, with key players Tubi and The Roku Channel entering the top 10 most used services on a monthly basis.

In Europe, however, broadcasters remain strong, with traditional free TV and broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) services leading.

Over the last year, Omdia research found that the average number of free video services per video user for the UK increased from 5.1 to 6.2 and in the US 6 to 7.5 services.

In the UK, free-to-air content continues to lead with BVOD services and social media platforms as the most popular services with FAST coming in as third.

Top 10 video services - US, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Spain

The allure of social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels has reshaped how individuals consume video content. With engaging formats and vast user bases, social media services offer compelling alternatives to mainstream streaming services.

Similarly, the availability of free TV options like ITVX, BBC Player, and Channel 4 in the UK provides viewers with access to high-quality content without the burden of subscription fees.

“The landscape of video streaming services continues to undergo a significant transformation. Our data has found that social media platforms, particularly Instagram Reels, coupled with the rise of free TV options like ITVX, BBC Player, and Channel4, has led to changes in British consumer behavior. Whether these changes are happenings in response to the cost-of-living increases, paid subscription fatigue, or other factors, it underscores the evolving preferences of consumers who increasingly have more places to go to access video content,” concludes Rua Aguete.

Links: Omdia