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June 15, 2019

What Influences Content Choice on Streaming Services

Americans are a nostalgic bunch, as is evidence by Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report (for the third quarter 2018), which provided some interesting insights into what motivates streaming service subscribers to choose the content they watch. The top factor influencing subscribers’ choices was “existing shows I used to watch…on broadcast media,”  with two out of three respondents claiming this.


This dovetails neatly with recent reports (from Nielsen and others) that off-network shows like The Office, Friends, and Grey’s Anatomy, and cable programs like Shameless and The Walking Dead are the bread and butter of streaming services like Netflix. It will undoubtedly give ammunition to streaming services in the works from NBCU, WarnerMedia and others, who are likely to take back prized programming from their soon-to-be competitors. At the very least, it will give them a strong position when renegotiating higher license fees. Unfortunately, the only loser in this battle looks to be the consumer, who will either cover the cost of increased license fees through higher prices on Netflix or will have to subscribe to more services to see all of their favorite shows.

More on this topic is forthcoming in the 7/2/19 issue of TV Dimensions Alert, “Netflix Subscribers Gravitate Mainly to Non-Netflix Original Fare.”

In Brief: The Latest on Primetime TV Ad Clutter

The latest data from Kantar Media’s Ad Time Tracker shows that paid advertising levels have generally held steady over the past year or so, with the four broadcast networks coming in just .1% lower in the first quarter 2019, compared to the first quarter 2018. In the same period, the cable network groups were up slightly. Only two entities showed a noteworthy departure from this norm; CBS posted the largest decline (-5.0%), while Discovery Communications showed the greatest increase (+6.8).

While the fact that clutter did not increase drastically over the last year should be welcome news to advertisers, we also did not see is any significant decline in clutter, as might have been expected, based on pledges by several networks and cable entities to cut back on ad time and feature premium, low-clutter breaks for improved ad impact. The numbers, however, don’t bear this out, and we’ll have to wait for next quarter’s data to see if any such activity actually takes place.



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