by. Christina Marra

While the growth of streaming platforms has been in the spotlight in recent years, many people still have a preference for cable and satellite when it comes to watching certain content. Between the second quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2023, spending on streaming services increased by 37%, while spending for cable and satellite decreased 16%, according to Epsilon, a global ad-tech and mar-tech company. However, this does not paint the whole picture.

Viewers prefer cable and satellite over streaming when it comes to news, sports, and TV shows. 85.3% of viewers prefer cable/satellite for news, while 73% prefer cable/satellite for TV shows and 68.2% for sports. When it comes to movies, viewer preference sways the other way with 60.5% preferring to watch movies on streaming platforms.

When it comes to deciding to use cable TV vs. streaming services, the most important factor for consumers is price. 48.5% of consumers stated that price is the strongest determining factor, followed by variety of content at 17.9%. Other determining factors include convenience/on demand, live sports, live news, and new content. 

The growth of streaming has introduced more services and platforms to stream from. Consumers who once subscribed to one or two streaming services are faced with the decision to subscribe to a handful of different platforms. As mentioned, variety of content is a strong determining factor for consumers. Streaming platforms are challenged to not only create original content, but also to acquire content that will draw consumers in enough for them to commit to a subscription. Suits, now streaming on Netflix and Peacock, has recently set new viewing records for an acquired title with almost 18 billion minutes.

In comparing the amount of services consumers subscribe to for watching content in 2023 to 2022, 61.6% remained the same while 18.8% subscribe to more. However, a majority of consumers plan to use the same number of services to watch content in six months and a higher percentage plan to use fewer services than more services. In July 2023, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+ made up the top five most streamed services respectively.

While the platforms being used for viewing may have changed, one thing has stayed the same. Television has remained the most popular way viewers are watching shows, movies, sports, and news. 67.6% of viewers most often use their television, with the second most used device being computers at 12.9%. Cell phones, gaming consoles, and tablets account for the remaining percentage of viewers.

With the drastic rise of the streaming industry over recent years, cable and satellite have remained the preference for certain content among many consumers. While the streaming industry continues to grow and expand, cable and satellite TV are adapting as well. With the rate the streaming industry is growing and the amount of new platforms emerging in recent years, consumers are forced to subscribe to more services that have content they are interested in. With the preference for sports, shows, and news, there are consumers who will continue to pay for cable and satellite rather than join cord cutters.