This is a big year for streaming TV services, and for the consumers who rely on them – or plan to rely on them – for entertainment. Not only are there big new streaming options available, but other offerings could help more consumers “cut the cord.”
The latest evidence of this comes from Verizon. According to a report from CNBC, the company is “getting rid of annual contracts and letting customers pay by the month for the cable and internet plans they want. Previously, customers could buy internet or cable separately, but were often kept in a contract to get the best prices. After the contract expired, prices often increased.”
Indeed, new pricing from Verizon enables consumers to mix and match the services they want – a reflection of larger trends in the streaming and cable space. As CNBC explains, “there are three internet plans that range from $39.99 per month to $79.99 per month, depending on the speeds available where you live. Three cable TV plans range from $50 per month to $90 per month, and vary on how many channels you want.”
Broadly speaking, 2020 is supposed to be a year for streaming services, given the emerging and revised options, as well as the cultural trend of consumers cutting the cord in hopes of saving money and paying only for the TV content they truly want. And new figures regarding Amazon TV could help shed at least a bit of new light on that larger and developing situation.
According to a recent report, the Fire TV platform from the eCommerce operator “now has over 40 million users. That’s up from the 34 million it claimed in May 2019, and more than the 32.3 million active accounts Roku reported during its Q3 2019 results this past November.” As the report notes, Roku and Amazon TV are competitors in the streaming world.
As well, the report adds, “Roku’s ‘active accounts’ figure describes those accounts where users have streamed at least once during the past 30 days, but Roku notes that one Roku account may be shared by multiple members of the same household. However, the same can be said for Fire TV, which, like Roku, doesn’t offer an easy interface for switching between different user profiles in order to create a personalized home screen or watch list.”
One of the bigger trends behind all of this is the rise of connected commerce. As PYMNTS research has illustrated, consumers are increasingly using their own homes as hubs of commerce and payments, as streaming options enable more people to consume entertainment at home instead of going out. There seems little doubt that cord-cutting moves such as those from Verizon will help to further fuel that larger connected commerce trend.
Connected devices are contextualizing commerce for consumers as they go about their daily lives. More than three-quarters of U.S. adults made a purchase while going about their day-to-day activities – commuting, cooking, cleaning, watching TV, even taking care of the kids. Connected devices make shopping part of the everyday consumer experience, and voice makes it the ultimate hands-free experience.
In five short years, by 2025, there will be more than 25 billion devices capable of interacting with the internet — up from nine billion today. Everything from cars and homes to offices and appliances will be capable of enabling transactions. Appliances will troubleshoot problems before they exist, ordering parts and alerting technicians to set up a service call before things break down. Cars won’t need consumers to bring along their mobile phones to make them smarter, connected and capable of transacting. Connected car shipments in the U.S., China and Europe are expected to nearly double in the next three years.
Indeed, to create and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard (to make smart home products more compatible with security as a design tenet), Amazon, Google, Apple and the Zigbee Alliance unveiled a new working group. Zigbee Alliance board member companies – like IKEA, Samsung SmartThings and Silicon Labs, among others – are also on board to join the working group and contribute to the effort, according to the Dec. 18 announcement.
As all of that happens, newer and older players are striving to improve their streaming options to maintain an edge as the landscape evolves. Take Google as one recent example. Those looking for a way to keep up with what movies they want to watch will have access to a new Google tool to do so, according to the website 9to5google. The tool will allow users to add TV shows and movies to categories for things they’ve watched and want to watch. If the content is available on YouTube, there will be a “Watch Now” button next to the title. And if it’s in theaters, users can click a link buy tickets.
What will come next is hard to say, but you can bet 2020 will show the strength of certain streaming models and the weaknesses of others – and whether consumers are really as interested in cutting those cords as they say they are.