Indecision drives SVOD users to give up on watching anything at all: Nielsen

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Despite the indecision and potential frustration, online video viewership is growing. (Getty/FS-Stock)

Content is king in the subscription video streaming service space, but finding something to watch can be a royal pain for many users.

That’s according to Nielsen’s newest Total Audience Report, which figured out there’s a 10-minute window of time most streamers stick to for either finding something to watch or giving up on a service. The average adult spends 7.4 minutes finding something. Older adults throw in the towel after five minutes.

In all, Nielsen found that about 21% of adults surveyed give up if they can’t find something to watch within a reasonable amount of time.


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“Options are great for consumers when it comes to deciding what to watch but they’re also decidedly complicated for an industry that continues to fragment and search for unique ways to influence their behavior and perhaps steer eyeballs toward their network, program, service or brand,” wrote Peter Katsingris, senior vice president of audience insights at Nielsen, in the report.

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“Think about the last time that you or loved ones decided to sit down and watch TV, listen to new tunes or stream a program. Were you stuck in decision purgatory, endlessly checking out previews unable to make an actual choice? How long were you there? And, how much do you think the paradox of choice costs programmers, content owners, brands and marketers? Surely nobody wins when potential consumers get frustrated by the amount of choice, or simply unappealing options, and ultimately decide to just go to sleep instead.”

Despite the indecision and potential frustration, online video viewership is growing. The report found that seven out of 10 homes now have a subscription streaming service and 72% use streaming devices. Viewing on connected TVs was up 8%.

Across all forms of media, average time spent watching clocked in at 11 hours and 27 minutes per day, an increase of 21 minutes from the same quarter of 2018.

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