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Too much of a good thing? Audiences have 40,000 channels and streamers to choose from

According to Gracenote, in June audiences spent 10 minutes, 30 seconds looking for something to watch

In its new State of Play report, audience measurement, data, and analytics company Gracenote found that audiences now have 2.7 million video titles to watch, from nearly 40,000 FAST channels and streaming services.

The report looked at the United Kingdom, Germany, United States, Canada, and Mexico, and found that there are 39,500 distinct channels for audiences, with 167 unique streaming video sources, such as Netflix, Disney Plus etc.

It added that in June, viewers in the five countries said they spent 10 minutes, 30 seconds looking for something to watch. That’s down from 11 minutes, 16 seconds last October but up from 7 minutes, 24 seconds in March 2019.

“The growing abundance of content and content sources has become overwhelming for audiences,” the report said. “Compared with strategies focused on adding more content to engage audiences, focusing on personalisation and user experience can help audiences find what they’re looking for more quickly.”

The report added that the rise in the availability of free ad-supported streaming TV channels (FAST) was driving a trend toward viewers watching classic TV.

“Compared with traditional SVoD services, which typically offer a mix of high-profile originals and titles acquired from other sources, FAST channels are predominantly set up to showcase library content — programming that originally aired somewhere else (usually on traditional TV),” the report said.

According to Gracenote, the keys to audience engagement in an increasingly crowded market, are personalisation and better user experience. Companies that leverage content metadata and connected IDs to present the most compelling programming and relevant advertising to the right viewers through merchandising, curation and data science can gain a competitive edge, said the company.

“As it was during the age of broadcast television, content is the lifeblood of the digital, streaming-first media ecosystem,” said Filiz Bahmanpour, VP of product at Gracenote. “So a clear understanding of content – where it’s available, what it’s about and whom it’s attracting – is more critical than ever.”