Skinny Bundle Users Watch Other Over-the-Top Services: comScore

Virtual distributors face streaming competition from Netflix, others

Why This Matters

Viewers who choose skinny pay TV bundles are supplementing their service with other streaming subscriptions, per comScore.

Viewers who buy over-the-top skinny bundles of pay TV channels are also watching other streaming services, according to a new study from comScore.

According to comScore, about 51 million homes stream video to their TV and about 3.1 million subscribed to Sling TV, Sony Playstation Vue and DirecTV Now. Sling TV, which has been around the longest, is dominant with 2 million subscribers as of April, according to comScore.

Even though those bundles are skinnier, they include enough channels and programming to keep subscribers occupied for more than 54% of their OTT viewing time.

That still leaves a lot of time for other streaming services, notably Netflix, which gets about 17% of OTT viewing time in skinny-bundle households; Hulu with 9%; YouTube with 7.1%; and Amazon with 0.2%.

Subscribers to DirecTV Now, the newest of the skinny bundles included in the comScore study, are engaged with it for 81 hours per month. That’s not as high as the nearly 200 hours traditional pay TV viewers spend with cable or satellite, comScore said.

“These people are not necessarily the heaviest, most voracious users of television,” Mike Rich, VP of emergent products at comScore, said. “They sort of seem to fall into this middle tier of people who watch content but maybe not enough to keep them in the MVPD environment where they have complete access.”

But within those homes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube are being used more than in the average home.

“Even if you’re paying for a skinny bundle, you are still spending a large [portion] of your time viewing OTT content outside of that skinny bundle,” he said. “And so there is competition in that space, not just the migration from the MVPD to the vMVPDs and skinny bundles, but continuing competition between the skinny-bundle world and the more traditional OTT world.”

comScore gathers data on viewing of streaming content using its comScore Total Home Panel, which is comprised of about 12,500 homes and 150,000 digital devices and measures 52 OTT services.