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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 10, 2013

OTT Video Preferred by Younger Viewers with Convenient Access

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Over-the-top video content, delivered on connected devices using the Internet, has become the most prominent way of accessing video content among those 18- to 34-year-olds who also have connected TVs, according to the NPD Group (News - Alert).

About 75 percent of those 18- to 34-year-olds who have a connected TV (either native to the TV display or provided by an external game player or other device) report watching OTT services, such as YouTube (News - Alert) and Netflix.

But 68 percent also use their connected TV to watch programming from their cable, satellite, or telecom TV provider. The big takeaway there is the preference, though still relatively small, for non-traditional programming sources.

That apparent preference for OTT video from non-traditional outlets might be the key finding. 

Image via Shutterstock

What remains less clear is whether it is unique or differentiated OTT content providing the value, the on-demand availability or some other combination of factors. In the case of YouTube, unique content is key; for Netflix on-demand access to movies and older TV series, content likely is the main draw.

What will not pass unnoticed is that the willingness to consume OTT content is highest among the youngest age cohort, lowest among the 55 and older crowd and in-between for those ages 35 to 54.

That suggests viewing preferences clearly are changing in the direction of OTT.

Though it is impossible to predict what might happen were all shows offered by video distributors available to streaming users of connected TVs, it seems clear enough that younger users now have different content preferences than older viewers.

What remains a matter of speculation is how use of outlets might change if all content typically offered by a subscription TV provider were conveniently bundled by one or more over the top providers, and available on a streamed basis.

One might well argue that the best position will be held by a distributor offering integrated access to both OTT and traditional programming, on an on-demand basis.

How feasible that will be, for reasons of cost and content availability, is less an issue than the mix of content sources available on any competing outlet, since one can reasonably expect that the cost of gaining full access to all traditional programming now is becoming a negative for many users.

So the real issue is which traditional content sources have to be made available, in combination with OTT, to get an audience, and make a profit doing so.

Streaming media player owners are the most likely to use a connected TV screen to access OTT video content, 81 percent of owners cite doing so.  This is followed by connected Blu-ray Disc player owners (77 percent), connected video game consoles owners (73 percent), and consumers with their TV directly connected to the Internet (66 percent).

Edited by Alisen Downey

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