Blog Post

NPD: Consumers Sticking With Entertainment Subscriptions

Newspapers and magazines may not be faring so well in this economic climate, but consumers are holding onto their entertainment subscriptions, according to a new survey from The NPD Group. The research firm says that monthly per-capita entertainment-content subscription spending rose to $115, which is up roughly 7 percent since last year.

As of August 2009, 81 percent of U.S. households subscribe to a TV service (cable, satellite, etc.), NPD found. The company also discovered that 14 percent of consumers subscribed to a home video subscription service like Netflix (s NFLX), up two percentage points from last year. Additionally,  the increased smartphone adoption has bumped up the number of mobile data subscribers to 9 percent of U.S. consumers, up from 6 percent last year, NPD said.

Subscriptions have been a hot topic this year as networks and studios look for additional means to monetize their content. TV Everywhere plans from multi-service operators will require a subscription to access premium video online; there’s talk of Hulu moving some of its content behind a subscription wall; and Disney (s DIS) is supposedly working on its own subscription service.

Based on these NPD numbers, the good news for those companies is that consumers are still valuing the entertainment they’re getting from their subscriptions. But the less-than-good news is that there are only so many entertainment subscriptions one house needs or can afford. Content companies shouldn’t go overboard and each offer their own subscription service — they’ll need to consolidate to deliver the best value to consumers.