The once dominant model of linear TV, characterized by limited choices, is rapidly giving way to the personalized world of on-demand streaming. This shift, heavily influenced by changing viewing habits, gives them unprecedented freedom to choose what they watch, when they watch it, and on what device. However, it also poses a major challenge for streaming platforms. Viewers are becoming increasingly demanding and easily disappointed by the ever-growing sea of content options. To remain competitive and capture the attention of a capricious audience, streaming platforms must adapt to these changes. They must develop innovative strategies that cater to the changing needs and expectations of today’s viewers, ensuring that they can successfully navigate this transformation and keep viewers engaged.

Understanding changing viewing habits

The decline of traditional television is accompanied by a continuing shift in the way viewers engage with content. Viewers are becoming more picky and often feel lost under an ever-growing mountain of choices. It poses a unique challenge for streaming platforms. These platforms must not only attract viewers, but also capture and hold their attention.

Shift from traditional TV to streaming

The shift from traditional television to streaming is due to several key factors. First, viewers want to be in control of what they watch. Streaming platforms allow users to watch what they want, when they want, and on the device of their choice. This flexibility is particularly attractive to younger generations who are used to accessing information and entertainment on demand.

Secondly, streaming services offer a wider range of content compared to traditional TV channels. This includes access to a huge library of movies and TV shows, both current and older, that cater to a variety of interests and appeal to different demographics. In addition, streaming platforms often invest in original content, creating critically acclaimed shows and movies that attract large audiences and enhance their unique offerings.

Finally, the profitability of streaming services is another key factor. Compared to traditional cable or satellite packages, streaming platforms often offer less expensive options with flexible subscription plans. Viewers can choose the services that best fit their budget and viewing preferences.

These combined factors have led to a significant decline in traditional TV viewing, with many cord-cutters opting for streaming services as their main source of entertainment. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for streaming platforms, which must adapt to changing audience needs and expectations.

Influence of on-demand content and binge-watching

The development of on-demand content has directly affected not only the way viewers access entertainment but also the way they consume it. This change has given rise to the phenomenon of binge-watching, which involves watching multiple episodes of a series or entire seasons in one go. According to the stats, 70% of Americans engage in binge-watching television shows and 20% of binge-watchers watch between 5-10 episodes in a single sitting. This shows how powerful the phenomenon of binge-watching is.

On-demand content encourages binge-watching by removing the traditional limitations of television schedules. Viewers no longer must wait for their favorite shows to air and can choose their own pace, leading to longer viewing sessions. Additionally, streaming platforms often use cliffhangers and episode continuity, encouraging viewers to continue watching the next episode immediately.

Binge-watching impacts both viewers and streaming platforms:

Viewers: While binge-watching can be enjoyable and offer a sense of escape. It can also lead to sleep deprivation, social isolation, and decreased productivity if not managed responsibly.

Streaming platforms: Binge-watching behavior provides valuable data on viewer preferences and content engagement, allowing platforms to personalize recommendations and tailor content strategies. However, it can also lead to “content churn”, as viewers quickly exhaust available content and potentially cancel subscriptions.

Understanding the influence of on-demand content and binge-watching is crucial for streaming platforms to cater to their audience effectively.

Rise of mobile and smart devices

The huge availability and popularity of mobile and smart devices has further revolutionized the way we enjoy entertainment. Smartphones and tablets have become the preferred screens for many viewers, especially younger generations. This shift has led to the popularization of short content: short videos, stories, and experiences tailored for mobile consumption.

This includes platforms such as TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels, which have capitalized on this trend and offer highly engaging content consumed in short series, often lasting less than a minute. This content format caters to the short attention spans and lifestyles of many viewers, providing quick entertainment and up-to-date information.

The development of mobile and smart devices, as well as the popularity of short content, pose both a challenge and an opportunity for streaming platforms:

Challenge: Viewers may have less time and attention for longer-form content traditionally offered on streaming services.

Opportunity: Platforms can adapt by incorporating short-form content into their existing offerings to accommodate different preferences and situations. This could include creating “snackable” content within existing programs, leveraging social media platforms for promotion, or even creating dedicated channels for short-form content.

Personalization and recommendation algorithms

In the increasingly competitive world of streaming, personalization has become a key strategy for retaining viewers and keeping them engaged. Streaming platforms use recommendation algorithms based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. They analyze vast amounts of data, including viewing history, preferences, and demographic information, to provide tailored content recommendations for each user.

Recommendation algorithms can predict user preferences and suggest content that is more likely to be attractive to them. This may include:

  • Personalized recommendations on the platform’s homepage or user profile.
  • “Because you watched” suggestions displayed after completing a show or movie.
  • Curated collections based on user interests and demographics.

Thanks to personalized recommendations, viewers are more likely to discover and watch content they enjoy, leading to longer viewing sessions and reduced churn. Personalization creates a sense of discovery and convenience, allowing viewers to easily find content relevant to their interests. By balancing effective content recommendations with ethical data practices, platforms can create a personalized and engaging experience for their viewers, fostering loyalty and ensuring long-term success.

Demand for diverse and inclusive content

Today’s audiences are increasingly looking for content that reflects the rich diversity of the world around them. This includes a growing demand for characters of different races, ethnicities, skills, life experiences, etc. Audiences want to see themselves, their communities, and their stories portrayed on screen in a nuanced and respectful way.

Streaming platforms can benefit from addressing this demand for diverse and inclusive content:

Greater audience reach: Diverse content attracts a broader audience base, enabling platforms to connect with viewers from different backgrounds.

Greater engagement: Viewers are more likely to invest in programs and videos that reflect their experiences and perspectives.

Positive brand image: Platforms that prioritize diversity and inclusion gain a reputation for promoting representation and social responsibility.

Divided attention and multitasking

Today’s viewers often multitask by watching TV or streaming services at the same time as other activities, such as eating, working on a laptop, or browsing social media. The desire to stay connected and on-task (FOMO – Fear of Missing Out) can lead viewers to multitask to stay engaged in different activities. This behavior creates both challenges and opportunities for streaming platforms.

What challenges does this pose for streaming services?

Experimenting with format and length: Exploring shorter-form content, interactive elements, or snackable episode releases can cater to multitasking viewers.

Personalizing content recommendations: Recommendation algorithms can prioritize content that aligns with viewers’ preferred multitasking activities.

Prioritizing accessibility features: Closed captions and subtitles can allow viewers to stay engaged even when their visual attention is divided.

By acknowledging this trend and adapting accordingly, streaming platforms can continue to reach and engage viewers in a competitive and dynamic environment.

The impact of changing viewing habits on streaming platforms

The changing viewers’ habits influence the world of streaming platforms. Here, we explore the challenges and opportunities these changes present.

Increased competition

As viewers have access to more and more streaming services, the battle for viewer loyalty has intensified. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, platforms must compete fiercely by offering unique content, personalized experiences, and competitive pricing.

Content fatigue

An ever-expanding content library can overwhelm viewers, leading to decreased engagement and increased churn. Platforms must strike a balance between diversity and quality to keep viewers engaged and avoid the pitfalls of content fatigue.

Meeting evolving expectations

Viewers today have heightened expectations from their streaming platforms. They demand more than access to content – they crave an experience tailored to their preferences, delivered seamlessly, and reflective of the real world’s diversity. Platforms that fail to meet these rising expectations risk losing subscribers and falling behind the competition.

Reaching new audiences

The global reach and content diversity offer an opportunity to expand subscriber bases by reaching new audiences across different demographics and geographical locations. This allows platforms to tap into previously unexplored markets and increase their user base.

Experimenting with formats

The changing landscape opens the door for experimentation with new content formats, such as interactive elements, short-form content, and live events. This allows platforms to cater to diverse preferences and engage viewers in innovative ways, potentially attracting new audiences and increasing engagement.

Building brand loyalty

Consistently delivering high-quality content, seamless experiences, and diverse representation can help platforms build strong brand loyalty and emotional connections with viewers. This loyalty can translate into increased subscriber retention and long-term success in a competitive market.

Personalization and targeted advertising

Changing habits present an opportunity for streaming platforms to leverage personalization and targeted advertising to deliver more relevant and engaging content to users. By leveraging data insights and understanding individual preferences, platforms can improve the user experience while maximizing advertising revenue.


It is obvious that streaming platforms must adapt to changing viewer habits. Understanding trends like on-demand content or mobile consumption is crucial. Platforms must leverage personalization, offering tailored recommendations and exploring new formats like short-form content and interactive elements. Adapting is a necessity for continued success in the face of evolving viewer preferences.