Consumer Behavior & Expectations In Today’s Changing Media Landscape

September 4, 2019
Denver, Colorado

The emergence of new streaming platforms from Disney, Warner, and NBCU frustrates many consumers; Netflix to lose between 12%-17% of US subscribers; and more

Overview


The media landscape is changing, as Disney, Warner Media, and NBCUniversal have announced plans to launch their own streaming platforms that will go head to head with Netflix. Anticipating the looming shake-up of this massive industry, analysts from Wall Street to Hollywood are predicting a wide range of outcomes for the defending market-leaders as well as new entrants.

This research provides unprecedented visibility into how consumers are thinking about the changing media landscape; how the launch of new platforms are changing value perceptions of existing giants Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime; and how consumption and subscription behavior might change in the "new world" of streaming.

We collected behavioral, attitudinal, and quasi-experimental data from 1,250+ US consumers and engaged 30 more in in-depth qualitative research to generate the most extensive study on consumer behavior and the imminent changes set to take place in the media industry.

Below are three powerful insights that could shape this industry. The full report is chalked full of many more insights--and it is available to download for FREE at the end of this page.


Insight 1: When new contenders are introduced, existing players fall in perceived value.

Note: Value scores range from 1-10, where 10=”Totally Worth It” and 1=”Not at all worth it”. Content Quality scores range from 1-10, where 10=”Excellent” and 1=”Poor”.

Note: Value scores range from 1-10, where 10=”Totally Worth It” and 1=”Not at all worth it”. Content Quality scores range from 1-10, where 10=”Excellent” and 1=”Poor”.

 

What We Did: We measured perceived customer value by asking consumers how “worth it” it is to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. These scores, along with their satisfaction with content, are reflected in the graph (“Current”). We then informed research participants that Disney+, NBCU, and HBO Max are entering the market.

What We Found: Simply introducing new players caused value and content satisfaction scores to decline. This means that a more competitive market erodes consumer value perceptions of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime (as indicated by the dotted arrows in the graph). To flip a popular axiom on its head: a falling tide lowers all boats.

Why It Matters: Perceived value is a leading indicator of subscription behavior. To see such stark shifts in perceived value raises questions about the future of existing market leaders and opportunities for new players to usurp Netflix as the market leader.


Insight 2: Many consumers are upset and frustrated that the media landscape is going to change.

 
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Honestly, I think it is bullsh*t. Excuse my french. They are basically forcing us (the consumers) to pay for each platform if we want to watch those shows/movies, when we just want a place where we can get it all. It is irritating that they are doing this as there will be no “one stop shop” for video streaming.
— Lauren, 26, Illinois

What We Did: We asked consumers what they thought about the arrival of new streaming platforms and the migration of old favorite shows like The Office from Netflix to these platforms.

What We Found: While some consumers expressed excitement about having more options, many are upset and frustrated for two reasons:

 
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1. Losing What They Love
Consumers are anchored to Netflix having it all--that means Netflix Originals AND favorite shows like The Office, Friends, and Parks and Rec.

 
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2. Costs To The Consumer
Fragmentation means consumers will have to subscribe to multiple services, which is expensive as well as inconvenient, time-consuming, and annoying.

Why It Matters: Frustrated consumers who feel like the value rug is being pulled from under them will be quick to find alternative ways to access the content they love. To recalibrate the value equation for them requires improving quality (more content or better experience), lowering costs, or a combination of both. Download our study report below for a detailed discussion.

 
 

Insight 3: We expect Netflix to lose between 12%-17% of their US subscriber base; Hulu to lose 15%-19%.

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What We Did: We measured consumers’ likelihood to subscribe in the future using proven survey-based pricing heuristics. We then followed up with qualitative research to add color to the why behind the numbers.

What We Found: The quantitative research is straightforward: based on our projections, we estimate a meaningful subset of subscribers to churn. In interviews, consumers talked about "Netflix Fatigue" - or the idea that they've already "seen it all" on the platform.

Why It Matters: A 15% subscriber haircut could throw the Netflix’s business economics into a “Vicious Cycle”. Download our insights report below to learn more.

 
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Disney+, NBCU, and HBO Max will offer limited (their own) content, which makes their product of limited value. Removing their content from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime makes these services undesirable.
— Marcela, 43, California
 
 
The nice thing about Netflix was the ability to watch a variety of shows on one platform. This proliferation of specific streaming services with less variety makes me less likely to want to subscribe to streaming at all.
— Jason, 31, Michigan

More Insights, More Musings. Download The Report To Learn More

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We've made our report, Consumer Behavior & Expectations In Today’s Changing Media Landscape, publicly available to download.

For more information on how we carried out this study, see our methodology page.

In order to conduct unbiased and objective research, this study was privately funded by The Langston Co. We did not receive endorsement or financial support of any kind from any third party.

Thanks for taking time to read our research. With questions, comments, or suggestions about this study, please contact us at streaming@thelangstonco.com.

 
 

DISCLAIMER: We base our research, recommendations, and forecasts on techniques, information and sources we believe to be reliable. We cannot guarantee future accuracy and results. The Langston Co. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on our research.