Americans can’t keep up with all the TV services they have

There’s too much TV.
There’s too much TV.
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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By the time Disney rolls out its streaming services for sports fans and families in 2018 and 2019, US audiences may be too overwhelmed to care.

Americans already have access to more streaming services than they know what to do with. The average US viewer has access to about four video services—including pay-TV and streaming—but only uses about two regularly, consultancy PWC found (pdf), based on an October survey of about 2,000 US adults. Most traditional pay-TV subscribers, for example, have Netflix in addition to their standard cable or satellite-TV service.

Those with slimmed down pay-TV bundles, the smaller packages that are often sold by cable- and satellite-TV services, have the most video services available to them and even they don’t use more than three, on average. Cord-cutters or cord-nevers, who don’t have access to traditional pay-TV bundles, use the fewest numbers of TV services, the study found.

The report looked at the number of video platforms that people had access to, rather than the ones they subscribed to, to account for password sharing. Eighty-one percent of participants in two consumer focus groups held by PwC in New York said they shared passwords with friends and family.

In the era of peak TV, viewers have more TV shows and movies at their fingertips than ever. But that choice is becoming overwhelming. Most cord-cutters in the US—74%—said that despite there being a lot of choices available to them, they often struggled to find something to watch, an earlier PwC study (pdf) revealed. And services like Netflix have said users will only scroll through titles for a minute or two before they give up the hunt altogether, and switch to another service or activity.

That’s only going to increase as more legacy players like Disney and CBS move online, and newcomers like Philo crop up. It may put new entrants at a disadvantage to established counterparts that are already in viewers homes and on their devices.

Most Americans feel they’ve hit their limit when it comes to TV platforms. Three-quarters of respondents to the latest PwC survey said they couldn’t handle more than four TV services, on top of a traditional pay-TV package.