In brief

In brief

  • Streaming has made tremendous strides in the past decade, offering a new way for consumers to access entertainment and educational content.
  • As the landscape has matured, consumers increasingly find streaming to be complicated, expensive, hard to use—and not all that personal.
  • In this report, we explore reasons for consumer frustration and how a new aggregator role could help put the joy back into the streaming experience.
  • Streamers who ignore these realities and instead focus blindly on subscriber acquisition as a stand-alone entity risk peril in a shifting landscape.


Three issues eroding the streaming experience

Streaming has made tremendous strides in the past decade, offering an entirely new way for consumers to access entertainment and educational content. But as the landscape has matured, consumers increasingly find streaming to be complicated, expensive, hard to use—and not all that personal.


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In our survey of 6,000 consumers in North America, South America, Europe, South Africa, and Asia Pacific, participants identified a lot of room for improvement in how they navigate and search across various providers, the types and pricing of bundles they’re offered, and the relevance of the recommendations they receive. Overall, consumers’ responses point to three big issues that are eroding the streaming experience.

One issue is getting caught in the “rabbit holes”

While growth in streaming services has given consumers an explosion in choice, it’s also created considerable complexity. As they adopt more services, consumers must manually browse through platforms, screens, and menus until they eventually find what they’re looking for.

And navigating through OTT services is like entering different rabbit holes, each with its own entry and exit—a turnoff for consumers. This is borne out by our survey, which found that 60% of consumers globally consider the process of navigating among these different services “a little” to “very” frustrating, and nearly half (44%) spend more than six minutes trying to find something they want to watch.

60%

of consumers globally consider the process of navigating among different streaming services “a little” to “very” frustrating.”

44%

spend more than six minutes trying to find something they want to watch.

A second issue is encountering inefficient bundles

The monthly payments for more services are a growing problem. In fact, many consumers are approaching their upper limit on the amount of money they’ll spend for streaming services.

According to our survey, 33% of consumers globally say they will “somewhat” or “greatly” decrease spend on media and entertainment across subscriptions and one-time purchases in the next 12 months.

A third issue is the fact that algorithms remained scattered across providers

Incomplete or inaccurate recommendations and, hence, often irrelevant content, is unfortunately the norm for most consumers today. That’s because only consumers’ own remote truly knows everything consumers watched.

Many algorithms generate recommendations based on an incomplete viewing history—and those recommendations can be wildly off base. Furthermore, the reliance on the algorithm to pitch consumers shows doesn’t allow consumers to tune the model, except through actual show selection. Not surprisingly, a majority of consumers globally said they’d like to be able to take their profile from one service to another to better personalize content (56%); and they’d be happy to let a video-on-demand service know more about them to make recommendations more relevant to them (51%).

56%

of consumers globally said they’d like to be able to take their profile from one service to another to better personalize content.

51%

would be happy to let a video-on-demand service know more about them to make recommendations more relevant to them.

It’s time to give consumers greater control over the experience

The three issues consumers have with the current streaming experience and ecosystem all point to consumers’ desire to have far greater control over their experience. They want to more easily navigate across the rabbit holes, to have greater choice in a service to pay for only what they want, and to “talk back” to the algorithm to help it do a better job of recommending content. In other words, they’re looking for a way to more meaningfully inject the “I” into the streaming experience.

So what does this look like in practice?

For streaming to continue to grow and fulfill its potential, we believe a big change to the ecosystem is needed: the addition of a smart aggregator, sitting across multiple platforms, that dramatically increases viewers’ control over the content they watch. This aggregator can play an important role in eliminating the three major issues currently plaguing the streaming experience and frustrating consumers. It:

Unifies the experience

through APIs and data-sharing agreements, which create seamless access across streaming services (including other forms of entertainment).

Fosters flexibility

by serving as a single platform that enables viewers to select exactly what they want to watch regardless of who’s providing it.

Personalizes the experience

by providing seamless navigation and curation across streaming services, created in collaboration with and for every individual.

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There’s no doubt aggregation is coming. Consumers clearly want it and the industry as a whole needs it. Becoming a successful aggregator or surviving as an individual streaming service requires different sets of actions. But what’s clear for all players: A blind focus on driving subscriber counts without taking steps to position the business for the aggregated future, regardless of which route you choose, presents near-certain peril.

About the research

Accenture conducted research to gain an understanding of global consumers’ preferences, beliefs and behaviors on their video content streaming experiences. The online survey of 6,000 consumers age 18+ in 11 countries was designed to identify significant changes to the existing D2C media regime and offer suggestions for brands across the media spectrum to adapt their model to be more relevant and successful with customers. Fieldwork was conducted between October and November 2021.

John Peters

Managing Director – Media & Entertainment, United States, West


Mark Flynn

Senior Manager – Accenture Research

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