November 10, 2021


Conquering Content is Hub’s annual deep-dive on the path to TV discovery: how viewers first hear about content, the attributes that lead them to engage with some shows but not with others, and how the process differs by platform (e.g. traditional pay TV vs. streaming) and content (e.g. brand new shows vs. catalog, TV shows vs. movies, scripted vs. unscripted, etc.)

During COVID, consumers doubled down on streaming:  our annual “Best Bundle” study showed each respondent using an average of 6 TV sources in 2021 (an all-time high.)  In addition, half of all viewers now use at least three of the “Big 5” SVODs.  The end result:  there has never been more content competing for the finite pool of viewers’ disposable time and money.

This research will focus on how key changes over the past year have influenced the way viewers find and choose what to watch.  Some key issues:

  • Deeper stacks: The experience of finding or discovering shows across multiple streaming platforms, each of which includes thousands of hours of content.
  • Aggregators: The increasingly important role of providers that offer a one stop interface from which consumers can access and navigate the full range of services available to them.
  • Exclusive Content: Perceptions of “original” content and the extent to which that content matters in the decision of what to watch next. 
  • FASTS: Free ad-supported services like the Roku Channel and Pluto have accumulated millions of viewers in a short time.  As these providers begin to roll out their own original shows, will viewers have a reason to watch besides “it’s free”?
  • New paradigms: During COVID, once unassailable rules, like the theatrical release window, have been broken.  Have these changes impacted choice of content and provider?  And now that consumers have gotten a taste, can that genie ever be put back in the bottle?

This study will identify how all of these factors affect show discovery, and prioritize the best strategy for show marketers to win and keep an audience in the future.

Source: Interviews with 1,600 U.S. consumers age 16-74 who have broadband access and watch a minimum of 1 hour of TV per week.