Pay TV vs. Streaming vs. Cinema: Who is Winning The War?


The rise of streaming platforms has led to a huge migration of viewers from traditional content channels. Even Hollywood has begun to feel the heat intensely. Piplsay (powered by Market Cube) conducted this nationwide survey to dig deep into viewership trends that are fast defining the media and entertainment industry. Media networks, Hollywood executive and OTT players can leverage this data in their decision making. Download the full document here.

Streaming TV is all the rage, but will it spell the end for Pay TV and multiplexes? That’s the question on everybody’s mind as most big brands make a beeline to grab a share of the OTT pie. So what viewership trends will define the industry in the days to come? Piplsay polled 50,063 Americans to understand the real picture. Here’s a summary of what we found:

“I have subscribed to both pay-TV and OTT for variety, especially since I love to binge-watch” – Zach

Other Insights

  • 38% of Gen Zers watch content only on streaming platforms, highest amongst age groups
  • 58% of Gen Zers watch content on mobile phones as compared to 45% of millennials
  • Close to 30% of Americans across all age groups go the movies less often now
  • 33% of men and women say their movie watching habits haven’t changed over the years
  • 47% of women find watching movies in theatres expensive as compared to 38% of men
“I only watch streaming platforms since they are cheap and offer better programming than pay-TV” – Jane

Streaming Gets An Edge

But that does not mean pay-TV is history. 15% of Americans continue to hang on to the traditional platform exclusively while another 38% have subscribed to both pay-TV and OTT platforms. Surprisingly, despite the huge on-demand content, most Americans tend to spend more time on pay-TV than streaming platforms. About 60% of Americans spend over two hours on pay-TV every day as compared to just 41% of OTT subscribers. Movies and TV shows continue to remain the most preferred content on both platforms, with close to 60% of viewers tuning in via their television sets.

“I don’t watch TV very often. When I do, I watch Netflix which has what I want at a reasonable price” – Smith
“Going to the movies is expensive. I would rather wait for these movies to come on streaming platforms” – Harin

Big Screen Losing Its Charm?

Streaming services have been challenging Hollywood’s status quo for years but never has it felt the heat as intensely as it does today. It’s not just the ‘chilling’ at home that makes streaming platforms an attractive option but also the strong original content they produce that helps set them apart. Not surprisingly then, that, close to 50% of Americans today either visit multiplexes less often or have stopped watching movies on the big screen altogether. Among the reasons, about 35% of Americans seem to prefer streaming movies at their own convenience over buying expensive movie tickets.

Survey Methodology: This Piplsay survey (powered by Market Cube) was conducted nationwide in the US in the month of February 2020. We received 50,063 online responses from individuals aged 18 years and older.

For deeper insights, download the detailed research report here
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