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It’s clear that the streaming service space is crowded – consumers have more than 100 options, by one estimate. Forty-seven percent of consumers are frustrated with the ever-increasing number of choices.

Ask anyone who has been to a restaurant with a book-sized menu, and they might agree – an abundance of options isn’t necessarily a good thing. It can hinder the customer experience. Having too many options typically means people end up less satisfied with their final decision than if they’d been given fewer options in the first place.

And with fan favorite shows moving from one service to another, consumers are frustrated because it means they have to subscribe to yet another service. Finding content among all the new options for streaming video requires work, and that brings down consumer satisfaction. 

Competition for consumer preference heats up 

Look to the past to better understand the convergence of TV and digital. In the early stages of the internet, when browsers battled for dominance, Netscape’s Navigator initially had an edge over Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Then, Internet Explorer took the lead. Eventually, Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox joined the competition. Chrome rapidly gained ground, and today, it has two-thirds of global browser market share

Similarly, streaming services are about to enter a battle for consumer preference. And just as browsers like Opera, Cello, Mosaic, Amaya faded out of prominence, so will some streaming services. Each service will enter at a different playing field, with some producing new content and some coming to market with fan-favorite hit shows from the past or taking content off of certain services to exclusively stream on their own service. After a few years of competition, the wide array of options will get whittled down. 

For many consumers, this change can’t come fast enough. Subscribers are becoming mentally and financially exhausted with all the streaming options available to them. (Hence the term “subscription fatigue.”) One survey found that most people reach their threshold at three subscriptions. Only one in ten respondents said they’d get another service if they could, and one in four said they would dump a streaming service if they were to add a new subscription to their bill. People are not willing to pay more than $45 to $50 a month on streaming services generally. And now, consumers will have to subscribe to four services to get the same content that used to be on one platform

Keeping the customer experience front and center

Consumers know that quantity does not always mean quality. And as it gets more expensive to subscribe to multiple streaming services, they will hone in on their must-see content and leave the rest behind. The average person already has about three streaming service subscriptions. Top reasons for cancelling services include not getting a good value for their money and not finding enough content they liked. Value is critical, and subscriber experiences matter more than ever before. Consumers want access to the content they’re looking for, and they want an intuitive interface to access the content. That’s why, in the race for winning consumer streaming preference, the services that successfully deliver on customer experiences are the ones that will win.