Survey Says: Almost Half of U.S. Households Subscribe to OTT Content

Nearly half of American households subscribe to one of the country’s top-three over-the-top (OTT) content providers, according to a recent report by the Leichtman Research Group. While 49 percent of U.S. households have televisions that are connected to the Internet, 47 percent of them subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus, the research found.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • The number of Netflix subscribers who also pay for television is still high (80 percent), but has been steadily decreasing since 2010 (when 88 percent of customers paid for television).
  • More customers who didn’t pay for television are paying for Netflix. This year, 48 percent of people who don’t pay for television subscribe to Netflix, an increase from 29 percent in 2012 and 16 percent in 2010.
  • Thirty-four percent of customers watch OTT content daily, while 61 percent watch it weekly.

These numbers highlight the need for increased bandwidth into customer homes. While the typical customer consumes about 29 gigabytes of data each month, the top OTT consumers use more than seven times that amount at 213GB.

Collectively, cord-cutters account for 72 percent of streaming traffic and 53.9 percent of all traffic on providers’ networks. With the numbers indicating that we can expect to see even more people consume more content from OTT providers, the need for bandwidth will become greatly pronounced. With the current debate surrounding net neutrality gaining momentum in Washington, providers may eventually be able to charge these heavy-bandwidth OTT providers even more for access to a “fast lane.” And those costs will likely be passed off to the consumer.