Illegal streaming to rise as VOD market fragments?
James R | On 28, Sep 2019
After several years of sudden and rapid growth, the VOD industry is beginning to mature, with a new wave of streaming services preparing to launch. With that growing fragmentation of the market, however, could come an unintended consequence, as some viewers may consider turning to illegal streaming in the face of so many options.
That’s the conclusion of research by Broadband Genie, which found that the number of streaming customers turning to illegal sources could double.
In a survey of UK streaming users, almost a fifth (18 per cent) confessed to accessing TV shows and movies via unauthorised streaming or file sharing sites. But that number increased to 37 per cent if the market continued to fragment into different services. Apple TV+, which launches in November, will offer big-budget originals from Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan, while Disney+, which will launch in the USA in November but does not have a UK launch date, will boast Disney and Fox’s joint library of older classics and newer exclusives, including the whole Marvel catalogue.
Consumers wanting to watch everything will have to sign up for a growing number of subscriptions. Over two thirds (67 per cent) of the 1,500 streaming service users surveyed by Genie said they already feel they’re paying too much. The survey found that most people currently pay up to £15 a month for streaming services but would prefer to spend a maximum of £10.
One possible solution for cutting costs for some might be illegally accessing the content, and 60 per cent of respondents considering this option said they would invest the money saved into a virtual private network (VPN).
With availability no longer a problem in many markets, the new hurdle for the VOD industry is affordability and convenience. In an age where FOMO is fostered by social media, though, consumers can easily forget that a major perk of streaming is a lack of contracts, which means that viewers can easily cancel subscriptions and hop from one service to the next.
Alex Tofts, Broadband Expert at Broadband Genie, says: “The price consumers are willing to pay is the equivalent of subscribing to one service. We’re a long way off having all of our favourite series in one place, but there are ways to help ease the cost. Many services will offer family packages at a discounted rate that you can share with your housemates or friends.”