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NYC TV Week: Video Streaming Wars Could Take Toll on Consumers

Consumers could soon suffer from streaming service fatigue as more offerings enter the marketplace, forcing consumers to pay more to access their favorite content, according to experts speaking at a NYC TV Week Streaming TV panel Tuesday.

With the November launches of streaming services Apple TV+ and Disney+ -- along with the 2020 debut of HBO Max -- executives speaking at the “Consumers in Control (Or Are They?)” panel said that the industry may be in for a bumpy road as consumers sort out the multitude of subscription video on demand services being offered.

Panel moderator Mike Bloxham, senior vice president of media ad buying company Magid, said a recent company survey revealed that 33% of consumers -- and 42% of 18-49 year olds -- say managing video subscriptions is a problem.

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Further, TV tracking app TV Time reported that 34% of consumers said they don’t plan to add another streaming service, despite the growing list of new services set to launch. “That goes to show you that people are frustrated,” said Cory Sher, vice president of sales for TV Time.

The competition for viewer’s time and money could escalate on the mobile platform, where other activities like games and social media apps like Facebook vie for consumers’ time.

“We live and breathe this OTT media connected TV space, but we’re not competing just with ourselves,” said Dan Hurwitz, chief revenue officer for video software company Penthera. “We need to remember that that’s the case and compete with them as well.”

Executives say that streaming services will have to provide a satisfying and entertaining experience for consumers if they are to avoid high churn. Magid's Bloxham reported that 42% of adults 18-49 who subscribe to a streaming service say they are not planning to subscribe to that service in six months time.

“At the end of the day it goes back to content,” said Sheri Roder, executive vice president of Horizon Media’s WHY Group. “It has to be good, and if it's not good and there’s a lot of crappy stuff out there, that’s part of the churn.”

Catharine Burhenne, head of growth for OTT video search app company Reelgood, added that services that provide consumers with the ability to easily search for their favorite content will have a better chance of retaining their subscribers.

“It has to be a consumer-first experience for streaming services to retain viewers,” she said. “Everyone knows if you go home and open up your [video streaming app] and don’t see what you want to watch, you’ll look elsewhere in another app.”

Added Hurwitz: “It's about all the elements of providing a great experience, including programming, removing the friction of that experience, making sure that the programming you have is discoverable, and making sure its available on a screen of convenience. You do those things right, and you have a shot at winning this bloodbath that’s coming up in the next few months.”