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Cable Technology Feature Article

September 11, 2013

More Than Half of US Adults Stream TV and Movies Weekly

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Online video consumption continues to cross the chasm into mainstream. New research has revealed that more than half—51 percent—of the U.S. population aged 13 to 54 now watches TV programs or movies online, at least once a week.

According to a GfK report, the weekly streaming audience for TV and movies in the U.S. has risen from 37 percent three years ago to 48 percent in 2012, and edged over the halfway point in the past year. Putting big wind into the sales is the fact that connected TVs, mobile devices, videogame consoles, Blu-ray players and the like have expanded the availability for using streaming services such as Netflix beyond the computer. And that has turned a niche, tech-head phenomenon into a mainstream entertainment source.

“The synergies between consumers and their connected devices are radically transforming video entertainment,” said David Tice, senior vice president of GfK’s media and entertainment team. “Streaming video is giving consumers more and more control over their viewing – and forcing content providers to reinvent their business models. As broadband connections and mobile devices continue to improve, this trend is bound to accelerate, creating a host of opportunities for those who can think ahead of the next technology.”

The report shows dramatic differences in streaming video use among different generations. While almost two thirds (62 percent) of Generation Y consumers (ages 13 to 33) watch streaming TV or movies weekly, the figure drops to 46 percent for Generation X (ages 34 to 47), and to 30 percent for Boomers (ages 48 to 54).

The study found that tablets and smartphones are playing a big role in the transformation; 5 percent of consumers now use a tablet to watch streaming video of TV programs or movies on a weekly basis, while 4 percent use a smartphone. Among those who watch TV or movies on tablets or smartphones, three in five say they access such content through an app, while one-third stream directly from a Website. The breakdown for smartphones is roughly the same.

Internet-connected TVs are key factors in streaming video, and may be poised to have an even greater impact. Although 27 percent of households say they have a streaming-capable HDTV, just one-fifth (5 percent of all households) are using it to view streaming TV or movie content on a weekly basis.

Video game consoles represent another largely untapped source of access; while 47 percent of TV households have streaming-readygame systems, only 9 percent – again, roughly one-0fifth – are using them weekly for streaming.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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