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Streaming Picks Up Steam as 75 Million Streaming Devices Ship Into U.S. Households in 2018


Rick Kowalski, Sr. Manager Industry and Business Intelligence, Consumer Technology Association

The world of entertainment is being rocked by the on-demand economy, where consumers are increasingly shifting their preferences toward services that provide access to music, TV shows and movies anytime they want. People are becoming more familiar with paying monthly subscription fees to enjoy the convenience of anytime/anywhere content and reap the benefits of personalized recommendations and ad-free streaming.

This shift in music and video consumption has created a multi-billion-dollar channel with great potential for growth in the coming years. The July 2018 edition of CTA’s U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts reveals just how fast the subscription streaming industry is expanding.

Aside from smartphones and PCs, over 75 million video streaming devices will ship into U.S. households this year, up from 57 million devices in 2014. The proliferation of streaming-capable gaming consoles, smart TVs, streaming media sticks and DVD players has put millions of Americans just a click away from signing up for any of the dozens of subscription video service options available today.

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Consumers are beginning to explore the ever-growing ocean of streamed video. Services continue to invest more in original content to distinguish themselves from one another and from traditional pay-TV, an approach that has successfully attracted millions of subscribers to-date.

Live TV streaming options are becoming more widely available this year, potentially attracting traditional pay-TV subscribers that, until now, have avoided cutting the cord for fear of losing access to sports programming and networks that are otherwise not streaming. With plentiful options available, it is expected that viewers will continue to leave traditional pay-TV to curate their ideal blend of video content. Consumers are expected to spend $13.4 billion on subscription video streaming services in 2018, up 42 percent over 2017.

Subscription streaming services have revitalized the music industry in the past few years, and service providers continue to gain subscribers at a furious pace. Companies are luring regularly paying music listeners with attractive introductory offers and benefits such as ad-free listening and on-demand access to any song at any time. The scramble for gaining loyal, engaged users is somewhat urgent in that the music streaming market is a zero-sum game.

Unlike video services, music services offer similar catalogs and features, meaning that a subscriber of one service is not likely to concurrently subscribe to another. Music fans are considering their options and voting with their wallets to the tune of $6.3 billion in 2018, showing 32 percent growth over 2017.

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Learn more about the state of the consumer tech industry from CTA at CTA.tech/salesandforecasts

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