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SVOD against Linear Content. What is the true demand?

The toss-up between streaming video and linear TV is a million-dollar question…quite literally. Recent studies suggest Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) clocked 92% growth (YOY) in the pandemic soaked 2020, compared to only 14% achieved by linear TV. Confirming this positive outlook, monetary gain for SVOD is upwards of USD 71000 million this year.

Does that mean it will leave the traditional TV far behind? Or will linear TV reinvent itself to bounce back into reckoning? Let us explore the content landscape by taking a step back.

Linear TV and SVOD compared:

Linear TV or the traditional way of watching television is somewhat straight-jacketed. You select a specific channel and watch a show as per the given schedule. SVOD allows customers to watch their favorite shows at any time and on any device of their choosing.

Access to Linear TV is available through either a cable or satellite connection for a monthly or annual subscription plan. SVOD, on the other hand, is available on any device with access to the internet for a flat recurring rate. Viewers can binge on content and watch it on multiple devices when and where they want to.


svod features

Recent Developments

Recent years allowed the streaming content sector to grow exponentially. Some factors that contributed to these developments are:

  • Internet penetration is increasing in developing nations, paving the way for more streaming avenues.
  • Growth in income levels is making ownership of smart devices affordable, thereby increasing the popularity of live video streaming.
  • The impact of Covid on SVOD growth has been phenomenal. People who were cooped up at home majorly subscribed to SVOD for entertainment.

Post-Covid Scenario

What impact will life returning to normal mean for streaming services, mostly the OTT subscription platforms?

Here are some likely scenarios that will play out.

  • Once the hold of pandemic eases, there will be less time for watching the OTT fare.
  • The OTT marketplace is red hot right now, with more service providers hooking on to the bandwagon. But for how long? Soon we will see a churn in those providers offering a smorgasbord menu as against more curated and focused ones.
  • The abnormal spike in OTT subscribers due to the pandemic is an aberration. The restrictive regime under which new content must be produced will mean present subscription rates will drop.

Even with these challenges, SVOD is still in friendly territory, but Linear TV is fighting back.

Countermeasures by Linear TV

There is still a lot left in traditional TV to reinvent itself.

  • Despite the allure of streaming videos, the power of a TV viewing experience in the living room is still very strong. The packing of the big screen’s power with the convenience of endless choice means Linear TV still rules family time.
  • When subscriber growth slackens as it is bound to, Linear TV holds the key to drawing in more subscribers. SVODs like Amazon Prime have toyed with the idea of broadcasting live sporting or premier events since such Linear TV still commands an inevitable pull.
  • A lot has gone into making Linear TV what it is. The existing infrastructure can be put to good use by tweaking it to become compatible with cloud-based operations. Linear TV can still adapt and stay relevant.

linear tv features


Trends indicate that demand for SVOD services will increase but the time spent before the TV is still a very potent metric. Though the demand for content is truly insatiable, the medium it is manifesting itself through is changing. SVOD may have the upper hand, but traditional TV is fast catching up.