1 in 5 abandon their viewing session when they can’t find something to watch. This is one of the latest findings from a new report that suggests a massive influx in choice is making it harder for consumers to decide what to watch.
While streaming has always offered choice, it is clear that the level of choice is growing at an incredible rate. One area that has really grown in the past few years, is the free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel and content segment. Not only are there now a variety of FAST services to choose from, but many existing paid streaming services also now offer FAST channels and content as well.
According to Nielsen’s 2023 State of Play report, which includes data from Gracenote, viewers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Mexico and Germany “now have nearly 40,000 individual FAST channels, streaming providers and aggregators to choose from.”
At the individual program level, the number of titles available to TV viewers has grown by more than 1.1 million over the past few years. In February 2020, there were 1.6 million unique titles available, and this number had grown to 2.7 million by June 2023, 86.7% of which were available to watch on streaming services.
All of this additional content and services has resulted in challenges for consumers to find something to watch. On average, viewers now spend 10 minutes and 30 seconds per session deciding what to watch, according to the report.
What’s more, consumers are spending so long trying to find something to watch that one in five (20%) said they “abandoned the viewing session and turned to another activity.”
In addition to the problem of too much content, the report also highlights how many popular shows are now starting to become available through multiple streaming services at the same time. Something that is said to be representative of an “industry pivot away from content exclusivity to broader distribution in search of better monetization.”
Basically, the report suggests that the level of choice, while never better, has started to get a little too much for some consumers. So much, in fact, that a number have felt so overwhelmed by content options that they ended up doing something else instead.