Smart TVs Fastest-Growing Segment of CTV Market, Says Comscore
Samsung maintained a commanding lead in U.S. smart TV market share in March, but the lead is narrowing, said James Muldrow, Comscore vice president-product management, on a Tuesday webinar on streaming TV trends.
Samsung’s share of the U.S. connected TV market fell from 32% in March 2020 to 31% a year later and 26% three months ago, said Comscore data. Its closest competitors were TCL with 15% share, up 3 points from March 2021, and Vizio at 14% share, up 3 points year on year. LG had 11% share, down from 13% a year earlier. Hisense maintained 6% share, Sony gained 2 points to 5% share, Toshiba had 4% and Insignia 6% in March.
Overall, smart TVs are the fastest-growing segment of streaming devices among households that stream content, growing 48% year on year to 53 million units in March, Comscore data showed. Growth of streaming boxes and sticks is tapering, rising 14% to 60 million units year on year.
Gaming consoles declined as a source of streaming video content, falling 20% in March to 17 million year on year. Muldrow attributed the decline to growing availability of smart TVs and streaming players. As smart TVs expand their access to services, that reduces the need for add-on boxes to get streaming TV channels, he noted.
Americans are adopting ad-supported streaming services at a faster rate (29%) than non-ad-supported services (21%), though the two are neck and neck at 77.5 million and 77.7 million households, respectively, said Comscore. “The ad-supported model is likely where we’re headed,” said Muldrow, saying a hybrid model offers services a better opportunity to grow the subscriber base. “There’s a great deal of saturation as far as the number of services that a household can safely purchase and not feel overwhelmed with content or cost,” he said. “At some point in the future, the concept of a completely non-ad-supported service may be diminished in favor of either a hybrid model or a full ad-supported service,” he said.
What had been known in streaming circles as The Big Five -- Netflix (81% of households reached), YouTube (64%), Amazon Prime Video (62%), Hulu (46%) and Disney+ (36%) -- have grown to The Big Six, Muldrow said, adding HBO Max, which has reached 39% of U.S. households since launching a year ago. Muldrow credited the addition of a lower priced tier with a strong selection of back catalog content for HBO Max’s quick rise. Amazon and YouTube had the highest audience overlap with Netflix at 66% of households in March.
Of the 122 million households in the U.S., 85 million are streaming on a CTV device, Muldrow said. On average, households have had 4.7 streaming services for the past few years, but that number increased to 5.4 in 2022, reflecting the growing number of services and wider availability of streaming solutions from traditional pay-TV services.
While Netflix reported a lower number of subscribers in Q1 (see 2204190066), its share of viewing hours grew in March to 29% from 21% the previous March, Comscore said. YouTube was second with 21%, followed by Hulu (12%), Amazon Video (9%), Disney+ (4%) and HBO Max (3%). Outside the top six services, Spectrum TV had 15% of streaming hours viewed, followed by Sling TV and Pluto TV, both with 12%, ESPN at 9%, Tubi TV 8%, and Peacock and Xfinity Stream, both at 5%, Comscore said.
Cord cutters were 38% of connected TV watchers in March, up from 31% a year ago and 22% in 2020, Muldrow said. Still, linear TV “is not going away,” he said, citing a 70-30 split in favor of linear TV vs. over-the-top streaming services. That’s down from 85-15 in the past, he said.