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Time Spent with Subscription OTT Video Content in the US Will Surpass an Hour for the First Time This Year

The average time spent with subscription OTT video content in the US will surpass 62 minutes per day this year, up 23.0% from 2019, according to our latest estimates. That's an acceleration from 2019, when it grew by 15.0% year over year.

Three trends are driving the spike in time spent with subscription OTT: 

  • New streaming platforms have launched with an abundance of premium content, fueling increased consumption. These media giants — Disney, NBC and HBO Max (WarnerMedia) — bring huge content libraries to subscription OTT. At the same time, others like Apple TV+ and Quibi have poured money into original content. 
  • Stay-at-home orders have accelerated growth in time spent with existing streaming platforms. The average time spent with Netflix will surpass 30 minutes per day in the US this year, up more than 16% from 2019. Amazon Prime Video, the third most-popular streaming platform after Netflix and Hulu, is projected to see a 19.1% increase this year to nearly 9 minutes per day. 
  • As cord-cutting speeds up, more video consumption will shift to subscription OTT content. The cancellation of live sports, as well as growing unemployment, will cause some consumers to cancel their cable subscriptions: In fact, 9.2% of respondents to the Business Insider Intelligence Coronavirus Consumer Survey said they had already canceled or were planning to cancel their pay-TV subscription due to the pandemic. The survey was conducted on March 31 and resembles the US population on the criteria of gender, age, income, and living area. Most of these consumers are likely to replace traditional TV with digital video, leading to more time consuming subscription OTT content. 

Subscription streaming will remain the most popular way of consuming digital video for the foreseeable future. By the end of our forecast period, time spent will reach 70 minutes a day. That's nearly 54% of daily time spent with digital video, which will average 130 minutes per day in total.

While there's room for incremental growth after 2022, daily time spent with digital video will eventually approach a ceiling. Any new-to-market subscription OTT services are unlikely to boost time spent. Instead, they'll have to edge out existing services for a piece of the pie.