Challenges facing the streaming industry and its consumers

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The shift from conventional ways of consuming video and audio media is continuing, with streaming platforms becoming the leading way to access content globally. But with this shift comes complications such as having too many platforms to choose from, platforms clamping down on password-sharing, and even fatigue as people vow to scale back their spending and media consumption.

According to data from Statista, there are over 3.28 billion people signed up for streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Spotify, and Tidal. This number, while steadying compared to the last few years, continues to grow. Most people who stream content will have multiple accounts, for example, for video and music.

Rather overwhelming

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But some research has found that the sheer number of streaming platform options overwhelms users. There are many platforms to choose from, and the number of programs and films can reach almost 1 million. For example, Apple TV had some 817,000 unique titles in 2022. This number is driven by consumers’ enjoyment of content which topped 170 billion minutes in the US last year.

While users are mainly happy with their experiences, almost half say they find it challenging to find something to watch as there is too much to choose from across multiple different platforms. As a result, some streaming platforms are looking at using big data to better streamline their offerings, depending on the viewer’s behavior and habits elsewhere, even outside of the platform. Although this is risky, considering the number of people who password share.

Another issue with this is the fact that this data may not always be reliable. For example, people may have recommendations or guests who take them outside their usual preferences. This could mean that someone with a very specific set of preferences regarding content could end up watching something very out of character and thus screwing up their algorithm. In these cases, the ExpressVPN guide to deleting your Netflix history can come in handy. This allows you to delete everything you have watched and searched for, preventing further distortion of the suggestions.

Sharing passwords

Password sharing is another issue facing the sector, as millions of people worldwide share login details with others. This means the platforms lose revenue as those viewers simply piggyback, for free, off another account instead of paying for their own. Several of the big platforms are trying out methods to combat the issue, including checking the VPN of those that are accessing the platform or offering additional households on the same package for a small fee.

But neither of these are likely to go down well with subscribers who are already feeling the pinch amid rising prices. In August in the UK, for example, The Guardian reported some 800,000 people canceled their Netflix subscriptions in the second quarter of 2022. This is a combination of rising living costs, but also fatigue from the consumption of media. Some are becoming increasingly conscious of the hours they spend watching online media in various forms, and others are vowing to cut back.

This could also be bad news for the streaming industry unless it can find a way to both retain clients and provide them with a breather every so often.

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