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February 5, 2021

Streaming during COVID: What companies can do to satisfy their ever-growing customer base

David Vanamburg

Americans’ cord cutting had started well before the pandemic. But, with COVID-19, that shift has only picked up steam.

Before COVID-19, 73% of U.S. consumers subscribed to at least one streaming service. Now, 80% reside in a household with at least one paid streaming service, according to a recent Deloitte study. Prior to the pandemic, consumers paid for an average of three services. That number is now up to four.

There are no signs of slowing down for this industry – even when life eventually goes “back to normal,” as 45% of consumers plan to make streaming a permanent part of their life after the pandemic, per a new TransUnion study.

So, with all signs pointing to streaming remaining a regular fixture, the question is: What can the industry do to keep viewers from “changing the channel”?

Let’s see what the data has to say.

The newer, the better

For the most part, streaming providers are keeping consumers relatively satisfied, per our most recent Telecommunications Report.

Viewers are pleased with how easy it is to use on-screen menus and programming (score of 79 on a 0-100 scale). They’re satisfied with the overall performance and reliability (76). For the most part, they even feel good about the content itself – including the quality of original programming (76), the variety of movies by category (76), and the quality of movies by category.

Yet, one area that customers feel misses the mark is the availability of new movie titles. According to the data, this benchmark still resides at the bottom of the streaming industry with an ACSI score of 71.

Americans haven’t been able to go to the theater for a long time, and they’re clearly missing out on the experience of watching a new flick on the big screen. Luckily, the industry — recognizing that this might be an issue — is bringing movies straight to them.

Disney released the live-action adaption of “Mulan” exclusively on Disney+ on Sept 4. for an additional price. The studio moved the Pixar film “Soul” to the streaming platform on Christmas Day as well. Warner Bros’ “The Little Things” premiered on HBO Max (and opened in select theaters) on Jan. 29 and has a whole slate of 2021 films set to be released on the streaming service (for a month) and in theaters simultaneously.

The pandemic has forced the film industry to adapt in countless ways, including postponing one film after another. But it’s also allowed them to reach consumers through streaming, offering access to plenty of new movie titles. Streaming platforms would be wise to continue this trend to keep viewers engaged.

Be original

We can’t reiterate this enough: Customers crave original content.

According to our data, customer satisfaction with the quality of original programming remains steady with an ACSI score of 76.

Netflix (78) has been the king in this department, and they want to keep the crown. The streaming giant is projected to spend $19 billion on original content in 2021 alone. Yet there are several fierce competitors coming for the throne.

Customers are more satisfied with the content on Disney+ (80) than other provider, per our latest data. You can chalk a lot of that up to “The Mandalorian,” which has helped the streamer reach 73.7 million subscribers as of Oct. 3. Disney has no intention of resting on its laurels.

The studio is restructuring its media and entertainment divisions to make creating original content for its direct-to-consumer outlets – Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN Plus – its main priority. With the release of “WandaVision,” a Black Panther series in the works, and plans to capitalize on the exciting Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney+ should be well-positioned.

The battle for streaming supremacy

As one of the original streaming services, Netflix was able to build a leg up on the competition. But the race is far from over.

Not only has Disney+ recently usurped Netflix for customer satisfaction, but other streamers are also nipping at their heels, including Apple TV (77), Hulu (77), and Amazon Prime Video (76).

NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, which launched back in April 2020 and has 22 million users as of the end of October, is absorbing the WWE Network, while ViacomCBS will be relaunching CBS All Access as Paramount Plus on March 4.

Everyone wants a piece of the streaming market. The older streaming companies are making moves, and new players aren’t shy about entering the fold. With so many streamers wrestling for consumer eyeballs, the name of the game is to give the people what they want. Offering original content and new movie titles are good places to start.

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