Free Digital TV Streamers More Likely to be Female

According to The NPD Group, like many technology-​focused activities, overall digital video consumption is mainly the purview of young adult men; however, when it comes to free television program streaming, young women are capturing their fair share, thanks to growing comfort using Hulu and YouTube. While women accounted for only one-​third (35%) of purchased TV episodes (i.e., electronic sell-​through or EST) from services like iTunes, Vudu, and Xbox Video (Zune), and 44% of subscription TV program streams from services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, women and girls (age 13 and older) watched over half (53%) of TV episodes streamed for free from services like Hulu​.com and from network-​TV websites. 

Based on the latest information from NPD’s “VideoWatch Digital” consumer tracker, the more pronounced use of free-​TV streaming among women and girls is driven by younger viewers, between the ages of 13 and 24, who represent 20% of all free-​TV streams. In addition, 70% of their free-​TV streams are occasions in which no one else was the viewing the content. In fact, five of the top 10 titles streamed by females between the ages of 13 and 24 have unique appeal to this demographic, and do not rank in the overall top-​10 titles; they include the following: “Vampire Diaries,” “New Girl,” “Secret Life of An American Teenager,” “Jane by Design,” and “Switched at Birth.”

Younger women are also willing to pay to own movies and TV shows, which in large part reflects the value they place on the content. EST usage among younger women was on the rise, compared with VideoWatch Digital tracking from year-ago.

Growing interest in watching TV programming on Hulu​.com and other streaming sites is a natural evolution of electronic video and reflects the value of programming that is highly personalized to this audience, which has a tremendous benefit to networks and advertisers,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. ”An important lesson for distributors of home video can be also be found in this data: namely, that women age 13 to 24 were twice as likely as average to also purchase movies and TV shows using EST — even more than their male counterparts. These findings highlight the fact that young women represent a valuable target for distributors who are looking to energize advertising-​supported programming or digital ownership.”

Female consumers age 13 to 24 are most likely to watch free streaming programs on their computers (90%) and less on their smartphones (4%), tablets (3%), or on high-​definition televisions (10%). Free-​TV streaming among this group of young women may also help to encourage digital video ownership, since this group of consumers is more likely than men and boys of the same age to purchase a TV show download.

Part of the popularity of EST and free-​TV streaming among this demographic group can be attributed to their desire to watch niche content that especially appeals to them, but might not appeal to others in the household,” Crupnick said. “Young women also like viewing movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-​ray discs. From an ownership perspective, there is something that could resonate with a large percentage of younger women, whether it is UltraViolet or Digital High Definition.”

[Source: "VideoWatch Digital."  The NPD Group.  7 Nov. 2012.  Web.  8 Nov. 2012.]