Choosing a Show to Watch Takes More Time Than Ever

New report reveals viewers take more than 10 minutes to find a show on streaming sites
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2023 10:00 AM CDT
We Waste More Time Than Ever Trying to Pick a Show
Programming is getting harder to choose on streaming services, study finds.   (Getty Images)

If you spend too much time scrolling through Netflix, you're in good company, a study by Nielsen's Gracenote has found. TV Tech breaks down its 2023 State of Play report, which notes that while people have more choices than ever to stream content digitally, it comes with some frustrating consequences. On average, viewers spend 10.5 minutes picking a show to watch on streaming services. Bloomberg notes that this average was just over seven minutes about two years ago.

The reason why viewers are taking longer to find something to watch is a mixed bag. People are spoiled for choice, with a 39% increase in titles available on streaming services since 2021. But navigating 2.35 million movies and shows over dozens of sites has become overwhelming. The number of streaming providers has jumped from 118 to 167 in the last two years, and per TV Tech, streaming accounted for almost 40% of TV usage in July. Some of this growth comes from a new crop of ad-supported streaming services, which now take up a quarter of TV viewing, per Marketing Brew.

Issues that streamers run into include discovering programming on different services and figuring out where to watch movies and shows they know are available. The study found a 20% drop-off in users who didn't have a show in mind before tuning in, meaning one in five viewers end up doing something else after attempting to find something to watch. Filiz Bahmanpour, the VP of product at Nielsen's Gracenote, called content the "lifeblood of the digital, streaming-first media ecosystem," which makes improving user experience "more critical than ever." (Read what the boom in streaming also means in the writers' strike.)

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