It’s easy to see how audiences could feel overwhelmed by the wealth of new streaming services. The abundance of services, in fact, has many wishing for something that many cord cutters were once trying to get away from: bundled content.

Despite the notable rise in streaming adoption, the premise of bundled content is rooted in something audiences have never wanted more than they do today: convenience. As detailed in our recent State of Play report, 64% of streaming subscribers say they wish there was a single company that would allow them to choose as few or as many video streaming services as they wanted, “more like channels.”

While today’s TV landscape is much different than when multichannel programming started back in the late 1940s, bundled video content back then was rooted in the same idea: content access. Specifically, the advent of multichannel television gave national TV audiences access to a wide range of programming options through a single subscription. That model remained dominant until cord cutting picked up speed with the arrival of the Great Recession, at which time the average U.S. household had access to 189 different channels.

Despite the wealth of options, TV households only tuned into an average of 17 channels. That, combined with the weight of rising unemployment amid the recession, left many households unable to justify a monthly cable bill that averaged $71, resulting in a rise in cord cutting. But convenience has never fallen out of favor with audiences. It’s just evolved.  

Today, 44% of U.S. households have

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