Too many streaming services overwhelm the audience

The video streaming industry has reached a tipping point, according to a new report from Nielsen. Streaming video on demand (SVOD) has forever altered TV viewing, and the groundswell of over-the-top (OTT) platforms and content now provides more choice than consumers can manage.

Too many streaming services overwhelm the audience. Image: Apple TV app
Apple TV app

The list of unique program titles in the U.S. tops 817,000 in February 2022 and continues to grow, much like the array of streaming platforms and apps that deliver many of those titles, Nielsen says in its latest “State of Play” report. Back in December 2019, Gracenote, a Nielsen company, listed just over 646,000 unique program titles.


Last year, Americans watched nearly 15 million years’ worth of streaming video content, and streaming providers are steadily increasing their share of consumers’ total TV time. In February of this year, content from streaming platforms accounted for just under 29% of consumers’ total time with TV, ahead of broadcast programming (26.4%) for the fourth straight month.

In addition to reaching the biggest audience, TV also drives the most engagement across our media options, as the average adult spends 4 hours and 49 minutes watching TV each day—and we still spend more than twice the amount of time watching traditional live programming than content we access through our connected devices, especially with the return of live sports after a tough 2020. Between January and September of last year, 98% of the most viewed broadcast programs were sports, and 72% were across cable programs, engaging consumers for a total of more than 189.5 billion minutes.

While cost always plays a role in any decision to add or subtract services, the abundance of choice has survey respondents feeling overwhelmed by too many options as well. Nearly half (50%) say that the increase in options makes it challenging to find what they’re looking for, which represents another consideration for companies seeking to acquire new customers.

The frustration has many wishing for streaming content bundles, somewhat of a pivot from the days when many digital-first consumers were on a pilgrimage to cut the cord from the bundled content offered by cable and satellite services. Today, 64% have hopes for streaming bundles, while only 9% blatantly disagree that there’s a need for bundled services.

46% of viewers say it’s harder to find the video streaming content that they want to watch because there are too many streaming services available to consumers.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, the Apple TV app tries to help sort through the mass confusion by putting “all of your TV all in one app,” but it’s hampered by a handful of services that do not participate, most notably by Netflix. Still, the Apple TV app is very useful, with Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock, Pluto TV, Paramount+, Showtime, Starz, AMC+, and more participating.

There are also apps and websites that exist to help give information about all of the streaming services in one place. Examples include Reelgood and Stremio.

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      1. Disney couldn’t be more pro-family, they just aren’t pro-idjit conservatives who in un-Christian like manner focus on ruining other people’s lives that don’t jive with their gaslit own.

      1. I strongly disagree.

        No channel is 100% perfect, but PBS has amongst the most family friendly and informative content out there. They are, per charter, not political and not an ad laden site dedicated to selling product placements and ads.

        PBS just released Ken Burns’ bio of Benjamin Franklin.

        If you think excellent productions like this are “liberal drivel”, then you are truly lost. PBS has always offered excellent content not found anywhere else.

    1. No YOU’RE quite obviously the Drivel Master abusing society. Don’t even THINK about having kids and warping their minds with your hopeless country-bumpkin mentality.

  1. Netflix is making the service too expensive in short period of time, and it feels like I’m not more part of the target audience. Also The 4k quality ist poor, hdr often way too dark or grainy, dolby atmos only certain devices and only for english language… for now, I decided to downgrade to full hd but considering cancelling the service

    1. One-size-fits-all streaming subscriptions are for the most part no better and, for some people, no cheaper than the old cable company bundles. With the subscription model, the price will increase as quickly as they can push it, with no guarantee of improved content or user options. Welcome to walled garden rental living. A-la-carte purchase options would much more directly inform streaming companies what they are getting right, and what they aren’t. But that would require these companies to deploy internet-age technologies instead of adopting the ancient cable business model to their newfangled media operations.

      One example of streaming services laziness: we had better language & subtitle options on DVDs 20 years ago. Not sure why they can’t offer (for a small upcharge, that’s fair) proper language options globally instead of playing regional games.

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