Streaming eclipses traditional TV among U.S. adult streamers

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019
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Share of Streaming Eclipses Traditional TV Among Adult Streamers, New Horowitz Study Finds

  • 2 in 3 Streamers Stream over Half Their TV Content, and 15% Stream all Their Content

After exponential growth in adoption of streaming between 2010 to 2016, the share of adult TV viewers who stream at least some of their TV content has plateaued for the past three years at around 65%, according to Horowitz Research.

Percentage of TV Content Viewers Who Stream Weekly

Among the 2 in 3 adult Americans who stream, however, there is a growing reliance on streamed content. According to Horowitz’s latest report, FOCUS OTT & SVOD 2019, which covers over-the-top (OTT) subscriptions, behaviors around streaming, and profiles of OTT users, the share of streamers who stream more than half of their TV content viewing has risen from 57% in 2018 to 66% in 2019. Overall, streamers spend 57% of their viewing time streaming, compared to just 39% on traditional TV (MVPD-delivered live, VOD, DVR, and antenna viewing).

The explosion of connected and smart TVs is playing an instrumental role in this growing reliance on streaming. The TV set is the screen most often used to stream to, with 73% of streamers reporting that they stream to a TV set weekly (mainly by using a connected TV device like an Amazon Firestick or Roku, or through a smart TV app). In fact, a quarter of streamers (24%) report doing all of their streaming on the TV set.

The ability to stream to the TV is also playing a role in today’s cord-cutting trends. The study shows that people who do not subscribe to an MVPD (a traditional cable or satellite service) are much more likely to stream to the TV set than to any other device, underscoring the fact that TV content and the TV experience in general are still important, even while viewers are questioning the value proposition of pay TV as it has been traditionally packaged, priced, and delivered.

Incidence Of Streaming To Specific Devices

On the other hand, the study finds that people who still pay for cable or satellite TV service are more likely to spread their viewing across a variety of different devices. These viewers are streaming not as a replacement of traditional TV platforms, but to complement them by expanding their viewing opportunities. Horowitz’s recent segmentation of TV viewers identifies these consumers as Content Omnivores™ or Mega Omnivores™ because of their insatiable desire to consume content anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

Streamers are using, on average, 2.4 SVOD services, with Netflix remaining the most popular. The report also identifies the growing number of TV viewers experimenting with virtual MVPDs like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, and Hulu with Live TV that merge the experience of streaming (deep libraries of on-demand content that can be streamed anywhere, to any device) with live TV, which audiences still value for sports and news especially.

“The streaming environment will become increasingly cumbersome to navigate— and more expensive— with media companies like Disney and NBC launching their own streaming apps and removing their content from Netflix and other platforms,” notes Adriana Waterston, Horowitz’s SVP of Insights and Strategy. “We keep hearing from consumers that they wish there were a service they could subscribe to, to pay one price to access all the content they want and have it organized all in one place, but that they can watch anytime, anywhere, on any screen. In a sense, consumers want an MVPD service, but with the convenience, control, portability, flexibility, and value for the money they get with streaming.”

The full FOCUS OTT & SVOD 2019 report provides analysis of U.S. TV content viewers and streamers 18+. The survey was conducted in January/February 2019 in English among 1,600-1,619 TV content viewers.