Streaming Overload: Over Half of Americans Think There Are Too Many Services

Alex Kerai
Jun 21, 2023
bullet4 min read

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Do you watch all your TV and movies on Netflix now instead of hitting up a Blockbuster? Turn on Hulu instead of flipping to ABC? Watch HBO through Max? And does it all feel a bit … much?

You’re not alone—54% of Americans think there are too many streaming services.

Add to that frustration the recent password-sharing crackdown from Netflix, price hikes from Disney+, and consolidation with Max, and you’ve got a recipe for streaming overload. Americans are fed up trying to find their favorite shows in the Wild West of streaming when everything used to be so easily available.

So what’s next? We surveyed 1,000 Americans to find out what they want to see from streaming services moving forward and if they’re willing to keep paying over $50 each month to stream everything, everywhere all at once.

Are there too many streaming services?

How many streaming services are you subscribed to? Sure, there are the obvious ones that stream most of America’s favorite content like Netflix (which still reigns supreme) and even Disney+ and Max (formerly HBO Max).

But what about some of the more obscure ones? There are over a dozen streaming services covering just about everything:

  • Home life: Discovery+
  • Horror movies: Shudder
  • British originals: Britbox
  • Short-form content: Quibi
  • Quirky originals: Apple TV+
  • Classic sitcoms: Peacock
  • Sports coverage: Pogo
  • General entertainment: Hulu

And if you think that’s a lot, you’re not alone! Over half of Americans (54%) think there are too many streaming services available.

So many, in fact, that you may not have realized that one of the platforms mentioned above has shut down and another doesn’t even exist!

REV-streaming-services-Onsite-01

With over a dozen streaming services out there, nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) find it hard to find shows and movies they want to watch.

  • Why? Because content is spread out across every major platform.
  • While each platform has its own originals, many also license content that can leave a service each month.

The streaming fatigue is real. Americans are paying an average of $40–$55 per month for streaming services and not being able to find the content they want to watch. So is it time to combine services into favorable packages, like cable used to be?

  • 34% of Americans don’t know how much they spend monthly on streaming.
  • Our March report found that the average viewer subscribes to two streaming services.

Americans want more content, fewer subscriptions

It really shouldn’t be that hard to find something to watch. It used to be the case that there were only 210 original scripted TV series airing in the U.S. and it was easy to find them on the major cable channels, and the DVDs could be rented from Blockbuster.

  • Now there are nearly 600 series airing each year on everything from NBC, AMC, and HBO to Apple TV+, Freevee, and Britbox!
  • Plus, with movies airing exclusively on streaming platforms, there’s so much more to watch, and it’s harder to find things amidst the glut of content.
streaming subscription data infographic

You may think that more variety is what Americans want—and you wouldn’t be totally wrong. A large majority of Americans (81%) want a wide range of content in their streaming service to make it worth the money.

  • They want to see shows and movies from different providers—like HGTV and HBO all together.
  • An excellent example of this is when Discovery bought Warner Bros. and added Discovery content to HBO Max and renamed the streaming service Max.

And it may not surprise you, but over three-quarters of Americans (77%) think combining services into one app would make it easier to watch their favorite content. Now that idea isn’t totally out of the question—as companies combine, we could be seeing more all-in-one services.

Would you pay more for fewer apps with a better selection?

The short answer from the Americans we surveyed: Yes! Two-thirds of Americans (66%) would pay more for a streaming service that combines different platforms and gives a wider selection of content.

  • It may not be that far off of an idea: Verizon’s +Play is bundling the service with Netflix and Paramount+ with SHOWTIME® in a move that’s similar to cable packages. The bundle will cost $25.99 per month and save viewers over $5 each month.
  • Expect more bundles like this from non-studio players like Verizon. Instead of launching a platform, these players will bundle and sell them, much like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu with subscription channels.
REV-streaming-services-Onsite-03

As it stands now, 65% of Americans find it hard to access all the shows and movies they want to watch because they’re spread across too many platforms.

  • The solution may be bundling among studios, similar to Verizon’s +Play option.
  • But will studios begin to combine their streaming services altogether, à la Disney+ and Hulu? It may be what the consumer wants but it may not be better for the bottom line.

Recap

Over half of Americans (55%) say there are too many streaming services out there and two-thirds (65%) think it’s hard to find the shows and movies they want to watch because of how many streaming platforms there are.

Viewers are tired of searching multiple streaming platforms for the shows and movies they want to watch and over three-quarters of Americans would prefer combined services—like Disney adding Hulu content to Disney+—with content from a range of studios, instead of the current model.

Americans want a return to the cable packages of yore but for streaming. As studios begin to experiment with merging content, it may be helpful to look at what 81% of Americans would immediately sign up for: a streaming service that offers a wider range of content from different providers.

Methodology

Reviews.org surveyed 1,000 Americans 16 years and older in May 2023 with a +/- 4% margin of error and a confidence level of 95%.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Business.org. Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, Business.org, Move.org, WhistleOut.com, CableTV.com, SafeWise.com, HighSpeedInternet.com, and SatelliteInternet.com. When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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