Data: Americans Dropping Free Streaming Services

When it comes to streaming, Americans would rather pay for it than get it for free. And we have the number to prove it!

Okay. I’ll admit that my lead-in to this post is a tad sensational. It is true, though, according to a research firm that studied the streaming habits of American viewers. Not only does the company’s report say that streamers are dumping some services, but those also tend to be the ones they get for free. This results in a slight drop in streaming video on demand (SVOD) services being used overall but it’s hardly reason for panic. Streamers still love streaming, and the data proves it.

U.S. Streaming Consumption Drops for First Time

Meet the research firm Omdia. It’s a London-based think tank that, among other things, analyzes market trends in the tech world. The company recently studied the streaming habits of Americans from November 2020 to April 2021. According to Omdia’s data, American streamers are using less streaming services for the first time since SVOD became a thing. It went from 7.23 streaming services used to 7.06 within that time frame.

What’s 0.17 of a streaming service? I don’t know. What I do know, however, is which services American streamers are using, and which ones they tend to be dumping. Again, I lean into Omdia’s recent report for this. According to them:

  • American streamers average four paid-SVOD services per household.
  • These streamers supplement paid services with up to three free subscription services.
  • This accounts for an average of seven streaming services per U.S. household.
  • On average, American streamers are dumping one free service and keeping the paid ones.

Perhaps the best things in life aren’t free after all?

One More Thing About American Streamers…

…According to Omdia, of course. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who streams, though. Omdia’s data indicated that many American consumers tend to rotate through different paid services. They subscribe to a given service for a short period of time based on specific content they want to watch. Once that runs its course, these folks typically cancel or pause that subscription.

I’m Somewhat of an Outlier

It’s no secret that I’m a devoted streamer. I wouldn’t be penning this weekly column if I wasn’t. That said, I don’t think I’m the typical American streamer by Omdia’s definition. Okay, we do currently pay for four streaming services, so we’re fairly normal there. We currently receive HBO Max for free with our HBO subscription, but that’s the only free streaming service we have. And, just for the record, we have NO intention of getting rid of it. The loss of all that great content would leave too big of a hole for another SVOD service to fill.

How Do You Stack Up as a Streamer?

Just out of curiosity, do you fit the image of Omdia’s average American streamer? If so, let us know in the comments section below. Tell us which streaming services – paid and free – you have, and which ones you’ve recently let go of. Bonus points if you were one of the streamers who took part in Omdia’s study. Let us know!

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.