Cost and content are key for those deciding to keep, or drop, streaming services

New NPR/Ipsos poll also finds that a majority of streaming service users are overwhelmed by the amount of content available

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Research Manager, US, Public Affairs
  • Jeremy Golden Research Analyst
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Washington, DC, October 28, 2022 — A recent NPR/Ipsos poll among Americans who use streaming services to watch TV or movies finds that nine in ten say the cost of a streaming subscription is important in their decision to subscribe, including nearly two in three who feel it is very important. This is closely followed by access to specific content.

At the same time, most streaming service users feel that there are too many choices, and nearly three in five agree that they are overwhelmed with amount of content available. Lastly, while crackdowns on login sharing are not a big concern among most streaming service users, they are of bigger concern to younger streaming users.

Cost and content are key for those deciding to keep streaming services

Detailed Findings

1. While streaming service users view cost as a very important factor when choosing to keep or drop a streaming service, it is not the only factor, as content also plays a key role.

  • Ninety-two percent of respondents who use streaming services say the monthly or annual cost of a streaming platform is important in their decision to subscribe. Nearly two in three (65%) feel that it is very important.
  • Parents with children under the age of 18 (74%) are more likely than those without children under 18 (62%) to say cost is very important.
  • While cost is an important factor, so too is the content provided on the platform. Eighty-seven percent report that whether a streaming service has specific shows or movies available is important in their decision to subscribe. Forty-six percent say that it is very important.
  • When asked about the motivating factors to drop a service, the numbers closely mirror that of the question around keeping a service. Again, cost and available content are at the top of the list.
  • Our poll shows streaming service users do have a tipping point in regard to how much more they would pay for their favorite service each month. Fifty-eight percent agree that they would continue to pay for their most used streaming service if the cost increased by $5 per month. However, just one in three would continue to use that service if the cost increased by $10 per month.


2. While most streaming service users currently subscribe to more than one streaming service, they are also signaling the amount of choice available in the market is starting to become overwhelming.

  • Sixty-nine percent of streaming service users agree that there are too many streaming services and platforms available, and 58% agree that they feel overwhelmed by the amount of content available through streaming services.
  • Along these lines, 55% of streaming service users say that it has gotten harder to navigate what content is on which streaming platform they use.
  • On average, these users subscribe to at least three platforms (3.55). Half say they have changed the number of streaming services they use, either by adding or dropping, in the past year.


3. As some platforms look to crack down on login sharing, most streaming users do not rank the ability to share high on their list of deciding factors to keep or drop a service. It is, however, more important to younger streaming users.

  • Among those who report using someone else’s login information to access at least one streaming platform (28% of respondents), the vast majority say they are sharing with an immediate family member outside of their household (77%).
  • Streaming users under age 35 are more likely to report sharing login information than older users, but they still report doing so with someone in their family.
  • The ability to share login information is not a key driver in streaming users’ decisions to subscribe to platforms. Less than half (43%) say that the ability to share login information is important in their decision to subscribe, including just 18% say that is very important. However, among 18-34 year old users, 57% say that being able to share login information is important, including 27% that say this is very important.
  • When forced to choose which behavior by platforms concerns them more, increasing prices or cracking down on login sharing, the vast majority say increasing prices is more concerning (83% vs. 15%). Once again, 18–34-year-old streaming users are the most concerned age group about streaming services cracking down on login sharing (23%).

About the Study

This NPR/Ipsos poll was conducted September 9 – 11, 2022, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,031 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 765 people who use streaming services. To qualify for the survey, respondents needed to subscribe to streaming services (either paid/subscription based streaming service or live TV streaming service).

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.10. For those who use streaming services, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. This margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.10 for those who use streaming services.The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on other sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The data for the total sample were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, and household income. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2021 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS).

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45-59 and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other, Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, 2+ Races, Non-Hispanic)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)

About Ipsos

Ipsos is one of the largest market research and polling companies globally, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Research Manager, US, Public Affairs
  • Jeremy Golden Research Analyst

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