While freedom of choice is critical to mental well being, too much of it can cause psychological stress and undermine happiness in a phenomenon dubbed the paradox of choice. We experience it at supermarkets, evaluating potential college courses, career choices, holiday destinations, or cable TV channels.
Now the latest edition of Deloitte’s annual Digital Media Trends survey has confirmed that the problem has come to streaming services as consumers are becoming inundated with so many potential streaming video on demand services, and weighing the cost and benefits that come with potentially having some or most of them, that it’s leading to customer dissatisfaction.
According to the survey nearly half (47%) of the 2,003 U.S. consumers who participated in it earlier this year say they’re frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want. An even higher 57% said they’re frustrated when content vanishes because rights to their favorite TV shows or movies have expired.
Nearly half (49%) say the sheer amount of content available on subscription VOD makes it hard to choose what to watch. Most know exactly what they want to watch 69% of the time, but 48% indicate content is hard to find across multiple services. The biggest driver is original content with 57% saying they subscribe to streaming video services to access original content.
There are presently more than three-hundred over-the-top video options available in the United States alone, most notably SVOD ones like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, CBS All Access, Showtime, Starz and YouTube Premium along with more regular VOD services like iTunes, Amazon and Vudu. This is all before four major new ones – Apple, Disney+, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal – enter the fray.
Today, the average U.S. consumer subscribes to three video streaming services and 43% subscribe to both pay-TV and streaming services with people cobbling together their own bundles from multiple providers.
Kevin Westcott, Deloitte vice chairman says: “Consumers want choice — but only up to a point… We may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue.” The survey suggests there’s a big opportunity for larger platforms to re-aggregate their services – pool their resources into a smaller number of higher value services with deeper libraries of content.