Too Much Contents: Streaming Overload?

Viewers Feel Overwhelmed by Too Many Choices, Nielsen Survey Finds

Even so, more than 90 percent of people in a Nielsen survey say they’ll keep or increase the amount of SVOD services they use.

Almost half of streaming users in the United States say they feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of programming on streaming services. But they have no plans to cut back.

Those are key findings from a Nielsen report analyzing the state of streaming.

The report, titled State of Play, uses data from the company’s TV and streaming ratings, insights from Nielsen’s Gracenote content-recognition service and a survey of streaming users to offer a snapshot at where things are.

The survey reveals: 46 percent of streaming consumers feel overwhelmed by the ever-increasing number of platforms and titles available to them, which can make it tougher to find specific titles in a specific place.

As of February, according to Nielsen, there are 817,000 unique program titles (series, movies, specials and other programming) available via streaming services — an increase of some 171,000 titles (26.5 percent) since the end of 2019.


In this photo illustration, the Netflix media service provider's logo is displayed on the screen of an iPhone in front of a television screen on March 28, 2020 in Paris, France. Faced with the coronavirus crisis, Netflix will reduce visual quality for the next 30 days, in order to limit its use of bandwidth.

The continued increase in the amount of available content has meant a corresponding rise in time spent streaming. Streaming consumption totaled 169.4 billion minutes in February, an 18 percent rise from a year earlier (143.2 billion minutes).

Streaming has accounted for about 28 percent of total TV usage over the past 10 months, when Nielsen began releasing its monthly reports of viewing by platform.

Despite the widespread sentiment that the huge volume of programming feels overwhelming, viewers have no plans to slow down. An overwhelming 93 percent of respondents in Nielsen’s survey said they plan to keep the paid streaming services they have or add more over the next year. The percentage of people who subscribe to four or more streaming services has more than doubled (from 7 percent to 18 percent) in the past three years.

“We’ve entered the next phase of streaming, based on the trends we have been detailing about streaming over the past few years,” Brian Fuhrer, senior vp product strategy at Nielsen, said in a statement. “We’ve moved from infancy into adolescence, and all the complexities that one would expect at that point. It’s not just that streaming is increasing year over year. Now consumers want access simplified and the explosion of services has renewed discussions around bundling and aggregation. Ultimately, these challenges signal an opportunity as the industry harnesses streaming for long-term business growth.”

A majority of survey respondents also said that faced with such a high volume of content, a streaming bundle would be an attractive option: Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of respondents said they’d be interested in a bundled service that allows access to several different platforms — provided they can choose which ones.