Friday, August 5, 2022

Where have all the users gone?

NextTV had an article recently talking about the number of losses by traditional pay TV service. But, it wondered where those viewers went.

I'm inclined to say they went to streaming or over the air antenna, or both of those, but there is no data to back that up.

That's not to say data contradicts my suggestion, just that there isn't data to say one way or another.

Have people quit watching TV? I don't think so, although it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if they did.

I used to watch TV when I traveled for business or pleasure. But, I haven't done that in years. Oh, I've traveled, but I rarely turn on a TV if I'm away from home. So in some respects, I'm watching less TV, though I'm streaming more.

Is this what's happening to others? I have no way of knowing, as the data isn't there.

The article by  Daniel Frankel, which was published last week, mentioned that traditional pay TV services were losing large numbers of viewers:

Three of the five largest traditional bundlers of pay TV channels in America delivered second-quarter earnings reports this week, and each revealed marked increases in the number of customers ditching linear video service. 

However, there's no evidence they're going, well, anywhere.

Essentially, Comcast's entire portfolio of app-based, beyond-footprint video experiences is going behind a wall, so we won't be able to necessarily trade a clean line between customers, say, ditching the traditional Xfinity X1 Full Monty and adopting X1-like app-based viewing via an XClass smart TV.

Indeed, there are more dark places to hide in the video business than not these days. That starts with the vast market capitalizations of the tech giants, who rarely drill down on the quarterly usage metrics of their video apps and CTV device platforms.

While revealing a net loss of nearly $2 billion in the second quarter on Thursday, Amazon didn't come close to drilling down on how many folks use Amazon Prime Video worldwide, or its connected TV platform, Amazon Fire TV.

Likewise, Apple hasn't once revealed a subscriber -- or even active user -- metric for Apple TV Plus. How many active users does the Apple TV 4K CTV ecosystem have? Outside of research company estimates, we have no clue. 

Companies aren't reporting the data needed to understand what's happening. Whether that's because they don't want to have the data spun to reflect poorly on themselves, I don't know. Remember that streaming is a new thing, and there is no long history of reporting these numbers.

Until the companies start sharing the data, we can only speculate where the viewers are going. I went to streaming, and likely you did too, or are thinking about it. My Streaming Life suits me just fine, and I suspect others feel the same way.

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