7 in 10 TV Viewers Stream Programming

While the TV continues to provide the best quality picture and viewing experience, the way content is being discovered and consumed is changing dramatically, especially for millennials. According to the preliminary results of the NATPE||Content First and Consumer Electronics Association joint study on consumers‰Ûª attitudes toward TV viewing, just 55% of millennials use TVs as their primary viewing platform, while streaming devices are poised to dominate their viewing preferences. 

‰ÛÏOur study confirms that the paradigm for TV content discovery has changed dramatically with increased availability and use of TV content streaming options,‰Û said NATPE President & CEO Rod Perth. ‰ÛÏWith more than 7 in 10 viewers in broadband households having streamed full-​length TV programs in the past 6 months, there are opportunities for networks and content producers to reach and build audiences.‰Û

‰ÛÏWhile the vast majority of consumers continue to watch television programming on their TV, many consumers, particularly millennials, increasingly are turning to a variety of devices to view their TV content,‰Û said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. ‰ÛÏThis has profound implications for the way CE manufacturers market their products as they try to reach diverse markets.‰Û

Although many viewers of streaming programs say they are watching more TV programs overall, the joint study shows a decline in the amount of time spent watching live television programs during their scheduled air time.åÊ This is particularly true of the younger, millennial demographic which has some distinctive, common characteristics, including the regular use of multiple sources of program content.

Among the study‰Ûªs findings:

  • Millennials flock to streaming. The millennial demographic group is comfortable using many different sources of TV program content and consequently are significantly more likely to consume full-​length TV programs from a streaming source (84% streamed in the past 6 months) than live TV programming at its original air time (54%), or recorded content from a DVR (33%).
  • Millennials value their Netflix subscriptions more than broadcast or cable. Millennials value their ability to stream content above cable or broadcast channels. The ability to choose what they want to watch when they want to watch it is of high value to all 3 generational groupings, but particularly among millennials. In the study, 51% consider subscription to Netflix ‰ÛÏvery valuable,‰Û compared to 42% for broadcast channels, and 36% for cable subscriptions.
  • Gen Xers love video on demand and DVRs. Gen Xers tend to be the heaviest users of their cable/​satellite/​telco time shifting offerings including video on demand and DVR. Among those in this age group who have access to VOD, 76% use their VOD service once a week or more often, similar to SVOD usage. The study found DVRs are primarily used to avoid commercials, while VOD is for convenience.

Multi-​Screen Viewing Grows

The study found increased multi-​screen viewing of TV programming is a central factor in reaching younger target audiences. While the TV set is still the most commonly used device for watching TV programs, among the millennial group there are some distinct differences in their use and preference for multiple screens.

Among these findings:

  • Portability is the trend. Approximately 1/​2 of millennials say they watch TV programming on a laptop, and for 19%, it‰Ûªs their preferred TV viewing screen. Another 28% watch television on a tablet and 22% on a smartphone. Portability and the ability to watch anywhere is a key benefit in their use of multiple screens due to a greater comfort level with smaller screen sizes compared to older generations.
  • Millennials shifting to devices rather than TVs. While 9 in 10 viewers say they watch TV programming on a television set, millennials are significantly less likely to do so (85%). In terms of preference, only 55% of millennials select a television set as the preferred screen for viewing television content.

AudienceSCAN data reveals 38.2% of U.S. adults use Internet subscriptions (like Netflix, Hulu) for TV programming. 53.4% of subscribers are female. Internet advertising is a solid way to reach these streamers ‰ÛÒ 34% started an online search after being influenced by a web ad. 39% took action after seeing an Internet banner ad in the past month. They're likely to see your ads in magazines and newspapers while they're reading on their tablets too. 64% of Hulu/​Netflix subscribers took action based on such ads in the past year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.