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)

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!