Nearly two-thirds of U.S. homes pay for two or more streaming services

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American consumers are increasingly paying for multiple streaming video services as the marketplace continues to grow.

New research from Parks Associates found that 61% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to two or more OTT services as of the third quarter, up from 48% the previous year. The firm also found that 45% subscribe to three or more, up from 27%, and 31% subscribe to four or more, up from 14%.

"The term 'streaming wars' has been used for the past several years to describe the battle between high-profile SVOD services to capture revenue and viewership among US video consumers," said Steve Nason, research director at Parks Associates, in a statement. "So far the main battle has been among the Big 3: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, with other services primarily acting as complements. Now other services from major players are vying to become a core video service in US households, which represents the first real threat to the hierarchy established by the Big 3."

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Many high-profile streaming services debuted over the past year. Disney+ and Apple TV+ both launched in November 2019 and HBO Max launched in May. Peacock, NBCUniversal’s ad-supported service with a subscription tier, launched nationwide in July. Looking ahead to 2021, ViacomCBS plans to relaunch CBS All Access as the expanded Paramount+ and Discovery plans to launch a new streaming service that aggregates content from across its cable network portfolio.

"Clearly, the five main challengers to the Big 3 are having a direct impact on the service stack of OTT consumers," Nason said. "These services are primarily responsible for building up the OTT video portfolio by filling in important content gaps not currently being delivered by the Big 3 and other services. As these challengers continue to be more fully integrated into the market, their impact on the video consumer service stack will continue to grow."