Catching up, not cord-cutting, drives TV streaming: study

Contrary to prognostications about TV dying a slow death as tweens and younger children become hypnotized by YouTube, a new study suggests that consumers’ devotion to TV programming remains strong – even though more of them are watching it online or on tablets. The results of a new survey by TVGuide.com, announced at Ad Age‘s […]

Contrary to prognostications about TV dying a slow death as tweens and younger children become hypnotized by YouTube, a new study suggests that consumers’ devotion to TV programming remains strong – even though more of them are watching it online or on tablets.

The results of a new survey by TVGuide.com, announced at Ad Age‘s Social Engagement/Social TV conference Thursday in Los Angeles, found 42% of TV viewers reported watching more streamed content this year over last year. The survey went out to TVGuide.com’s panel of 10,000 self-described TV viewers; 2,306 people responded to it.

While the lion’s share (73%) of those who were streaming more TV content said it was because they were catching up on missed episodes, 8% said it was because of cutting back on cable and 10% reported it was because they had canceled their cable altogether.

“That’s not to say everyone is cord cutting, or that cord cutting is the dominant factor, but it’s a factor,” said Christy Tanner, TVGuide’s exec-VP and general manager.

The study also indicated a willingness to pay for content. Of the respondents who pay for video from services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, 30% reported that they’re watching more of it now than they did in 2011. Meanwhile, 68% are watching between one and five hours of video per week on tablets and mobile phones, and mobile users are paying for 10% of their streamed content.

In what Tanner called perhaps the most interesting finding of the study, 47% of respondents said they had “co-viewed” TV at home, meaning that one member of the household had watched programming on their iPad in the same room as a family member watching something on the TV set, for example. She said it was potentially transformational for American family life, since it could bring an end to the phenomenon of buying different TV sets for the home so that family members don’t end up fighting over control of the remote.

“What they’re going to do is buy more [mobile] devices, all come back to the living room, and at least be together while they’re watching,” she said.

This story originally appeared in Advertising Age.

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