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Netflix Loses Ground as America's 'Default' TV Service

Family watching TV
(Image credit: FreePik)

A streaming service is the first programming source that 55% of American TV watchers go to when they first turn on their set, vs. just 39% for pay TV, according to a new survey from Hub Entertainment Research. 

The company's latest iteration in its annual "Decoding the Default" study polled 1,616 U.S. consumers age 16-74, who watch at least an hour of TV each week. In 2020, Hub found that 50% of TV watchers defaulted to streaming vs. 42% for pay TV.

In the 2019 version of the report, the two distribution paradigms were split evenly at 47%.

Hub Entertainment Research

(Image credit: Hub Entertainment Research)

Among streaming video services, meanwhile, Netflix has lost ground among major OTT platforms. Last year, for example, 23% of respondents said Netflix was their default service. 

That percentage dropped to just 20% for Netflix this year, with 15% now claiming that either Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus or HBO Max is their default. 

Hub Entertainment Research

(Image credit: Hub Entertainment Research)

Notably, it's younger consumers who seem to be changing their "default" allegiances. In 2020, 39% of survey respondents age 18-34 called Netflix their default service, but only 31% of that cohort said the same thing in 2021.

Meanwhile, the percentages for older age groups IDing Netflix as their default remained largely flat. 

Hub Entertainment Research

(Image credit: Hub Entertainment Research)