26th Annual TV Preview: Conclusion

26th Annual TV Preview: Conclusion


As media professionals, we often view consumer trends through the lens of strategy – applying consumption patterns to media allocations to deliver audience-based buys for our clients. It’s not uncommon to hear statements of allocation standardization echoed in conference rooms or Zoom meetings, supporting both plan and buy recommendations.

26% of TV viewing is coming from streaming, 25% from broadcast, 39% cable…” and so on, states planner  X to client Y.

Don’t get me wrong, consumption patterns matter. Clients allocating millions of dollars to media schedules must take care that they are not oversaturating or underfunding specific media channels in the pursuit of finding core audiences. Agency partners must weave through the complex matrix of “TV” fragmentation and develop best practices for budget allocation, frequency capping and unduplicated reach. But if we take a step back, we realize that we too are those consumers displaying these evolving habits. This opens up a valuable opportunity to think of our own habits to help form critical questions to help move the industry forward.

As we look ahead to the upcoming TV season, I’ve been contemplating the idea of TV content, specifically as it relates to streaming platforms. Two of the questions that plague me as a consumer are:

  1. Exactly how much content duplication is there among streaming services? This thought leads me to another question that many consumers have:
  2. Am I overpaying for my “cost saving,” cord-cutter lifestyle by my lack of knowledge on content duplication?

To help with this analysis, I wanted to do a deep dive into one of the top 10 streamed series of 2020, Grey’s Anatomy. In 2020, US viewers streamed 39.4 billion minutes of Grey’s on Netflix alone. Let that sink in – 39.4B minutes is the equivalent of 27MM days, or 80K years – and that is just the United States!



A quick Google search of “How to Watch Grey’s Anatomy” provides five first page solutions for U.S. consumers. I can take my pick of Hulu, ABC.com, Netflix, Prime Video or YouTube TV to get the latest on the Meredith and McSteamy/Dreamy relationship saga. But here is where the dollar signs start to flash in my mind – I’m paying $93.96/month for access to all five streaming options when I could be viewing it for free on the ABC app.



Alas, Grey’s is not the top show in my household (we are more of a Paw Patrol home if you catch my drift), but I do wonder if each family member wrote down our top 10 must-have programs, might we be able to find a more economical solution to feed our need to stream?

I’m not alone in my multi-service stacking. As of January 2021, nearly half of all OTT consumers subscribe to four or more streaming services, according to J.D. Power TMT Insight.



In a March 2021 Forbes article titled Cord Cutting in 2021: Avoid the Big Mistake Newbies Often Make, author Dwight Silverman makes the point that consumers need to be strategic about their cord cutting approach to avoid over-paying.  He advises consumers to make a list of the shows they watch regularly and explore what services are needed to consume them, noting the added benefit provided by uncontracted services in giving the ability to add/cancel services as our must-have shows lists evolve. But how many consumers are doing this on a regular basis? I’d posit not many.

As we look ahead to the new broadcast season and reflect on the new content offerings across providers, it’s easy to see that there is not one straightforward solution for consumers or advertisers. Networks continue to push streaming services as a means to monetize content; and consumers are leaning in across multiple touchpoints.

At Harmelin, we are committed to navigating this ever-changing landscape, finding those optimal touchpoints and connecting consumers with their messaging in content they love – wherever and however they access it.


Download our full 2021-22 TV Preview here. For more information contact us.