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Accelerated Digital Video Service Uptake Driving Increased Viewing & Landscape Fragmentation

Futuresource’s latest Living with Digital survey, in field in December 2020, once again highlighted the continued upwards trajectory of digital video uptake in H2 2020, after an already impressive and partly pandemic-fuelled first half.

The survey reported greater uptake across all types of video services covered. Transactional digital video continued its strong gains in terms of user uptake in H2. In key European markets, over 30% claimed to have bought or rented a title since COVID-19 hit, with the USA being over 40%. Whilst the new wave of AVoD services is less established in Europe, over 40% of respondents say they accessed one of the key AVoD services such as Pluto TV in the previous month.

SVoD uptake continued to increase, driven by multiple service uptake but also due to the continued strength of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Overall, Amazon Prime uptake was one of the big winners, with the pandemic boosting the appetite for “free” shipping and video streaming, whilst strong gains in the UK were boosted by the increased availability of Premier League Football.

David Sidebottom, Principal Analyst at Futuresource Consulting commented, “Disney+ has been a key driver of multiple SVoD uptake in 2020. Other services will also continue to help drive this phenomenon into 2021, with the likes of more recently launched services such as HBO Max, Paramount+ and Discovery+ key to this, especially in the USA.” The survey indicates a continued future appetite for new SVoD services; typically, 30% of SVoD subscribers say they will take more services in 2021 than currently, with only 10% saying they will take less.

“However, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about managing their subscriptions. Over one quarter say they will dip-in-and-out of services, more so in 2021 than currently, highlighting once more the importance of churn management for services in an increasingly cluttered landscape. This increasingly fragmented SVoD landscape is also mirrored across overall video viewing trends,” added Sidebottom.

The survey saw respondents in many countries report an increasing proportion of their viewing share on typically less dominant viewing categories at the end of 2020 compared to June 2020. Viewing digital transactional video, social media video, broadcaster VoD and even watching DVDs and Blu-rays, marginally increased their share within the period, although they remain comparatively small against traditional TV and SVoD viewing share in all countries.

Furthermore, this illustrates the increased fragmentation of viewing across different services, platforms and indeed business models, as well as the increased requirement for aggregated experiences.

The Living with Digital programme is in its 13th year, with this being the 21st report in the series. The survey continues the theme of capturing the evolution of consumer behaviour regarding entertainment consumption, with a key focus on digital video. For more information about our latest report, please contact

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David Sidebottom

About the author

David Sidebottom

David is a Principal Analyst – Media and Entertainment. David has over 20 years’ experience in a research and consultancy environment and is closely involved in researching, analysing and consulting on key content industry and consumer technology developments worldwide, with a particular focus on the evolution of digital business models in the TV, video and music industry. David works with a wide variety of high profile Futuresource clients across the content ecosystem including studios, broadcasters, technology companies, hardware vendors, service providers and industry associations. He also directs Futuresource’s long-running global consumer panel ‘Living with Digital’.

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