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Americans spend average of $47 a month on streaming services

The Netflix app is displayed alongside other streaming media services on the homepage of a Roku Streaming Stick. (Photo: Matthew Keys / Flickr Creative Commons)

The average American household dropped more money on streaming television services in 2020 compared to the previous year, an indicator that more people are ditching traditional cable and satellite services for cheaper online-only offerings.

According to a study published by J.D. Power last week, the average American household spent $47 a month for streaming television in 2020, an increase from $34 a month in 2019.

J.D. Power said an increase in streaming TV options from new players was one reason why Americans are willing to part with more cash: Several highly-anticipated streaming TV services debuted in 2020, including AT&T’s HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock, each of which brought its own portfolio of exclusive content while poaching shows and movies from stalwart services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Despite this, Netflix is still the top streaming TV service of choice: The $14 a month streamer was used by 81 percent of surveyed households by the end of 2020, according to J.D. Power’s survey. But that was down from 85 percent just seven months earlier when 85 percent of households said they subscribed to Netflix, the survey revealed. Amazon Prime saw a similar decrease from 66 percent of homes subscribing to the service in April 2020 to 65 percent in December 2020.

The likely reason for the declines at Netflix and Amazon Prime are people experimenting with other streaming services: Hulu saw a large increase from 48 percent of households subscribed in April 2020 to 56 percent by the end of the year. YouTube TV, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV, Comcast’s Peacock, Starz, ESPN Plus, Sling TV and AT&T TV all posted gains as well.

CBS All Access and the streaming-only version of Showtime remained flat with 10 percent and 9 percent of household adoption respectively.

Disney Plus saw, by far, the biggest jump in subscribers from 37 percent in April 2020 to 47 percent by the end of the year. J.D. Power said the hit original “The Mandalorian” likely drew more customers.

The survey was based on answers collected from 1,745 American adults between December 16 and December 19, 2020. The survey focused exclusively on streaming TV services; other forms of digital media, including streaming audio, were not included.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).