Live TV viewing has continued to decline among U.S. broadband households

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
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More than 70% of TV viewing by young consumers is from sources other than live TV or livestreaming

  • Research firm tracks younger viewers turning to on-demand services for their video consumption

TV-viewing research from Parks Associates finds that live TV viewing among all video consumption has continued to decline overall among U.S. broadband households—nearly 60% of video viewed on the TV is on-demand, non-linear content. Shifting Video Consumption: Linear vs. On-Demand reports that the trend is particularly pronounced among young consumers. Just over one-quarter of television viewing by consumers ages 18 to 34 is of live sources, including pay TV, over-the-air channels, and livestreaming.

“Live TV is far from dead, but on-demand sources are claiming an increasingly large portion of viewing,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “In addition, a larger portion of live content viewing is moving online. Among TV viewers who watch live broadcasts on a TV, 17% of their live TV viewing is through an online video service with live content such as CBS All-Access, Univision Now, or PlutoTV. Among heads of households under the age of 35 who watch live TV, the percentage of online sources jumps to 30%.”

Sappington notes that viewers will retain the habits they have grown up with and used over time, so it is important for the pay-TV industry and advertisers to adjust their business approach and offerings to align with the expectations and viewing habits of TV-viewing consumer segments.

“Interestingly, consumers who have never had pay TV (called Cord Nevers) still spend approximately one-third of their TV viewing time watching live content, primarily from over-the-air TV channels,” Sappington said. “They also spend almost half as much time watching video on a TV overall as do average broadband households.”

Shifting Video Consumption: Linear vs. On-Demand measures the shift in consumption from linear to on-demand across platforms and sources of content to assess how this shift will impact the business of broadcast, pay-TV, and online television. Additional findings include:

  • The highest average consumption of linear TV content is among married respondents at 7.8 hours.
  • The highest average consumption of non-linear TV content is among respondents who are unmarried and living with a partner at 13.1 hours.

Sappington will host the workshop “Survivor’s Guide to the New Video World” on May 14 in Denver, Colorado, on the first day of The Pay TV Show.