“IDK, what do you want to watch?” Streaming in 2020, Will It Be Too Much To Handle?

Filed Under: Technology


Kiara Frey

Senior Director, Quantitative Research

We’ve all had those nights. We turn the TV on, excited to find a new show to binge or the latest movie that everyone is raving about. Fast forward 30 minutes later, you started on Amazon Prime Video, and you’re now on the Critically Acclaimed Animal Tales sub-category in the Netflix home screen with no recollection on how you got there. 

The streaming service launches in 2019 were just the beginning; 2020 is gearing up to push the streaming market into the stratosphere.  

We all know that consumers are becoming even more savvy with how they are managing their “TV” content – some have cut the cord altogether from traditional pay-TV services, opting only to stream their options. Others keep some traditional services but augment with streaming services to fill their entertainment desires. Whatever the scenario, these days, consumers are forging new territory with their streaming subscriptions, creating their own “pairings” of services to cover all of the content they want. In fact, the average American subscriber already has access to 3-4 streaming services

While “The Streaming Wars” had two major contenders, Apple TV+ and Disney+, enter the battleground late in 2019, 2020 may be the year where we run into streaming overload with the launch of HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, Quibi, etc.

OK, but what does this mean for me as a streaming subscriber? More choices should be a good thing…right? 

On the surface, yes, if we have more choices, we should be able to get what we want – and only pay for what we really need. On the other hand, we are starting to see the ownership of content switch and be split up across these (new) services, essentially making it hard for one streaming service to fulfill all of our entertainment needs. 

We’ve grown accustomed to “The Big 3” in the streaming world (Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime) over the past few years. But with Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock charging into the space, the question on everyone’s mind is, how will consumers react to all of these choices? 

In 2020, we might finally reach a breaking point. We may finally know how much is too much and potentially force consumers to make trade-offs when they are putting together their streaming service “bundle.” And what will those limiting factors be? Will the price of subscribing to all of these services independently be too much? Which services will be the big winners? Will the $425 million investment in Friends pay off for HBO Max? Or will Apple TV+ come out with the next “must-see” original? Only time will tell. And speaking of time, have we come to terms with the fact that there’s not enough time in the day to watch all this content – no matter how great of a binge-watcher you are?  

As the subscription model continues to gain traction across a variety of industries and categories, the learnings from the streaming market and consumers’ reaction to subscription overload might prove to be valuable as companies look towards future growth.   


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