Among top U.S. SVOD services, only Walt Disney Co.'s Disney+ saw an increase from 2020 to 2021 in the share of users who indicated they would be willing to subscribe if only originals were offered. According to data from Kagan's U.S. online consumer surveys, conducted in September of each year from 2017 to 2021, users of Netflix Inc., Hulu, Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video and AT&T Inc.'s HBO Max were less likely in 2021 to indicate they would be willing to subscribe to the service if only original content was offered compared to prior years. HBO Max took the most significant drop, down to 49% in 2021 following a steady rise from 59% in 2018 to 63% in 2020. Disney+ was the exception, with the share of users willing to subscribe just for originals rising slightly from 58% in 2020 to 63% in 2021.
General trends revealed by Kagan's Consumer Insights survey results included:
* Frequent streamers were more likely to be willing to subscribe to five of the top U.S. SVOD services for just originals compared to infrequent users.
* Recent users were more likely to be willing to subscribe for originals than long-term and seasonal users.
* Users willing to subscribe for originals were less cost conscious than those that weren't interested in subscribing to an SVOD service just for original content.
* Users willing to subscribe for originals tended to be younger.
The decline in willingness to subscribe for originals among Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video users could in part be due to release schedules, as new episodes of many popular series do not come out every year and the pandemic has caused production delays that pushed some expected release dates from 2021 into 2022.
The increase in share for users who would subscribe just for originals on Disney+ was most likely due to the dramatic increase in original titles on Disney+, with Disney investing heavily in original content across many of its popular franchises. As for HBO Max, some users receiving free HBO Max as part of their traditional HBO subscription, AT&T wireless plan or home internet service might be less interested in subscribing to the service just for originals. Additionally, there is a possibility for confusion among respondents for services like HBO Max and Disney+ where original content produced specifically for the streaming service is often hard to distinguish from traditional film and TV content produced by Disney or Warner Media LLC studios.
Unsurprisingly, users who indicated that originals were the content they most enjoy on the services were more likely than those who chose nonoriginal content as most enjoyable to indicate that they would subscribe for originals. The exception was Disney+, where more users who most enjoy non-original content said they would subscribe for originals (64%) than those who most enjoy originals on the service.
Across users of all these services, frequent streamers (at least once per week) were more likely to indicate they would be willing to subscribe to the service only for originals compared to those who stream infrequently (less than once per week). The largest difference between frequent and infrequent users was among Disney+ and HBO Max users, both at 15 percentage points, while Netflix and Prime Video users had the smallest difference, both at 9 percentage points.
Recent Netflix users were much more likely to indicate they would subscribe just for originals at 66% compared to long-term service users at 39%, while seasonal users split the difference at 54%. A similar trend was also present among Hulu and Prime Video users, with long-term users being less likely to indicate they would be willing to subscribe just for originals. However, seasonal Hulu users were more likely than recent users to be willing to subscribe for originals, while seasonal and recent user shares were equal for Prime Video.
As for Disney+ and HBO Max users, seasonal users were the most likely to indicate they would be willing to subscribe just for originals, at 73% and 60%, respectively, compared to recent and long-term users of those services.
Users who indicated they were willing to subscribe just for originals were less cost-conscious in terms of the SVOD services they subscribe to than those who were not open to subscribing just for originals. For each of the five services, about half of users willing to subscribe for originals indicated they subscribe to whatever services they want to watch regardless of the price, while only about a quarter of those unwilling to subscribe for originals said the same. Among service users unwilling to subscribe just for originals, about three-fourths said they pick and choose services based on their budget.
Across all five of these services, users who were willing to subscribe for originals tended to be younger. Millennials make up the largest share of those willing to subscribe for originals, while generations were more equally distributed among those not willing to subscribe for originals. Prime Video users were the most similar, in terms of generational breakout, between those willing to subscribe for originals and those unwilling to do so.
Data presented in this article is from Kagan's U.S. Consumer Insights surveys conducted in September 2017-2021. The online surveys included 2,529 (2017), 2,536 (2018), 2,531 (2019), 2,502 (2020), and 2,529 (2021) U.S. internet adults matched by age and gender to the U.S. Census. The survey results have a margin of error of +/-1.9 ppts at the 95% confidence level. Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number. Gen Z adults are individuals ages 18-23. Millennials are ages 24-40; Gen Xers are 41-55 years old; and baby boomers/seniors are 56 and older.
Consumer Insights is a regular feature from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence's TMT offering, providing exclusive research and commentary.
This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.