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As Streaming Usage Increases, The Number Of Smart TV Apps Used Has Leveled Off

John Finn Avatar
Google TV apps on an Onn streaming player

Following a sustained period of growth, the number of apps used per smart TV has leveled off. This is one of the latest findings from Inscape’s Q4 2023 TV Market Trends Report, which is based on opted-in data from millions of smart TV sets.

According to the report, the average number of apps used per TV almost doubled between 2021 and 2023. Since the beginning of 2023, however, apps used per TV has largely remained the same, topping out at 5.5 apps per smart TV in Q4 2023. To put this leveling off into perspective, Inscape notes the average number of apps used per connected TV grew from 2.6 in Q4 2021 to 5.4 in Q2 2023, before creeping up to 5.5 apps per smart TV in Q4 2023.

With so very little change throughout 2023, the report raises the question of whether consumers have become fatigued by streaming. This follows other recent reports that have made similar claims, including the suggestion that consumers are feeling overloaded by the choice of apps and services.

In spite of what looks like a plateau in terms of the number of apps, streaming in itself remains strong. For example, the report found U.S. TV households in Q4 2023 spent 58% of their monthly average viewing time streaming. According to the data, streaming’s share of U.S. TV household viewing time is up 8.2 percentage points since 2021. At the same time, cable/satellite has seen its share fall from 41.5% to 33.8%.

Smart TV users slowly shifting to streaming-only

Another interesting observation from the report is the slow, but gradual, increase in smart TV users shifting towards streaming-only. For example, while 45% were classified as ‘only streaming’ in Q4 2021, that number had jumped to 55% in Q4 2023. Over the same period of time, those classified as ‘only cable/satellite/OTA, had dropped from 9% to 5%.

Even though this leaves a large chunk of those classified as ‘streaming + cable/satellite/OTA’, that category is also slowly declining, falling from 46% in Q4 2021 to 40% in Q4 2023.

As a byproduct of all of this, the report also touches on the recent increase in the bundling of apps and services. This is being viewed as a way for companies to ensure usage of their streaming services remains steady, or increases, at a time when consumers are finding less reason to install and use a greater number of apps on their smart TVs.

John Finn


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