Most Consumers Still Prefer to Stream, J.D. Power Report Says

Netflix original series 'Lucifer'
Netflix original series 'Lucifer' (Image credit: Netflix)

Despite eroding restrictions that are letting more and more Americans out of the house, a J.D. Power report Thursday said nearly 80% of consumers are streaming entertainment as much or more than during the height of the pandemic. 

In a survey released Aug. 5, J.D. Power asked 1,209 adults in June about their streaming habits over the past six months. According to the researcher, 79% said they are streaming the same or more over that time period. In addition, the number of streaming providers per household rose to 4.5 in June from 3.9 in December, with more customers utilizing streaming apps via smart TVs, mobile phones and tablets. According to the survey, 40% of respondents access streaming apps through smart TVs (vs. 36% in December); 36% via smartphones and tablets (up from 30% in December) and 28% through a laptop computer (up from 25% in December).

According to the survey, apps are the second-most used streaming connection path. Hardware platforms like Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast also got sizable boosts for reasons ranging from retrofitting a non-connected TV to make it “smart,” or accessing services that may not be available on specific brands of smart TVs.

With that rise in consumption also comes a greater tolerance for price increases. Respondents to the survey said they spent an average of $55 per month for streaming services, up 17% since December. 

Also Read: JD Power: New Streaming Services Chip Away at Netflix Dominance 

J.D. Power said recent price increases from Netflix and Disney Plus are one of the culprits for the uptick in overall spend, adding that streaming services have invested heavily to add content.  

But higher prices and the rise in the number of streaming services hasn’t diluted the number of total subscriptions per household, according to the J.D. Power survey. About 57% of respondents said they subscribe to 4 or more streaming services, up from 50% in December. J.D. Power said that the emergence of platforms that cater to specific content — like Discovery Plus, which focuses on home and lifestyle shows -- has helped expand the number of services consumers subscribe to. 

“So while the a la carte nature of streaming could lend itself to less customer spending, it appears the inverse is happening,” J.D. Power said. “The more choices, the more temptation to get access to a specific library.” 

The top three streamed shows also reflect that diversity of options, with Netflix’s Lucifer logging in at No. 1 with 5% of respondents, followed by Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (4.4%) and HBO Max’s Friends (2.6%).

Netflix maintained the top spot among streaming services, with 89% of respondents saying they subscribe to the service, compared to 81% in December. Amazon Prime Video held second place, cracking the 70% milestone for the first time with 76% of respondents claiming to be subscribers (up from 65% in December), followed by Hulu at 64% (up from 56% in December), and Disney Plus at 52% (up from 47% in December).

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.