Streaming Overtakes Live TV Among Consumer Viewing Preferences: Study

Netflix streaming

U.S. consumers are more inclined to stream entertainment from an Internet service than tune in to live TV, according to the results of a new survey from consulting firm Deloitte.

Video-streaming services such as Netflix, which are now used by more than 42% of American households, have overtaken live programming as the viewing method of choice, Deloitte’s study found. About 56% of those surveyed now stream movies and 53% stream TV shows on a monthly basis, as compared with 45% of those who prefer to watch TV programs live.

And Internet-video services are valued more highly than cable or satellite TV among consumers aged 14-25, a group Deloitte dubs “Trailing Millennials” — another worrisome indicator for the pay-TV biz. For that age group, 72% cited streaming video as one of the most valuable services versus 58% who said the same for pay TV.

Older age groups still value pay-TV more highly. For Generation X (32-48), 80% picked pay TV and 47% selected streaming among the most valuable services, while among Baby Boomers 89% cited pay TV and 43% cited streaming.

According to the survey, 25% of Trailing Millennials either cancelled their pay-TV services in the last 12 months or haven’t had one for more than a year, compared with 16% of overall respondents.

Moreover, younger viewers now more commonly watch TV shows on mobile devices or PCs — rather than on a TV set. Among Trailing Millennials, 57% of time spent watching TV programs occurs on computers, tablets and smartphones. Other age groups still mostly watch on traditional TVs (57% of time spent viewing for Leading Millennials, 70% of Gen X, 81% of Baby Boomers and 90% of those 68-plus).

The report also found that binge-watching — which Deloitte defined as watching three or more episodes in one sitting — is prevalent, with about 68% of consumers engaging in marathon viewing. Of those, 31% binge-watch at least once a week (and 42% of those aged 14-25 binge at least weekly).

Meanwhile, the vast majority of consumers — 90% of Americans — multitask while watching TV, which includes activities such as browsing the Internet, reading email and text messaging. Both millennials and Generation X (age 32-48) engage in an average of three additional activities while watching television (versus two for Baby Boomers and one for those 68 and older).

The study also found that less than one-fourth of multitasking activities are actually related to the TV program being watched. And nearly 75% of those surveyed said they tend to multitask more during TV ads than during digital ads.

Deloitte’s ninth annual “Digital Democracy Survey” was fielded by an independent research firm from Nov. 3-19, 2014, which polled 2,076 U.S. consumers online.

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  1. harbin110 says:

    People can subscribe with YuppTV which is one of the best Indian TV Channel provider through online in the market for the NRI customers

  2. john Jones says:

    Boom! finally a study that actually makes sense. It would be so weird if we didn’t progress on entertainment they way we do with every other gadget! There are so many services that are free, why would anyone want to pay for channels they do not have the time to watch?!

  3. Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

    This story is 200 years old. It is one of the Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm. With all due respect to my friends in consulting firms, these are the kinds of half-truths (quarter-truths? eighth-truths? non-truths?) that make smart clients want to fire all of us on the charge of unmitigated nonsense.

    Todd Spangler, it is time that you went back to reporting facts and not fiction. Unless, of course, that’s the Hollywood “Variety” way. Hollywood is good at special effects and digitally generated (false) reality.

    I do not carry a brief for Nielsen, but to report on US TV Usage and Viewing behavior without referencing a Nielsen Rating, is like reporting Ben Affleck’s Ancestors for “Finding Your Roots” on PBS without consulting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

    Oops that’s already been done! Just ask Brian Lowry. But it’s no big deal according to him.

    So it goes.

    • Really? Since when is Nielsen accurate?Give me a break. It is common knowledge that streaming is at the very least on the rise, while terrestrial TV’s decline in a free fall. Anyone denying that is living in a fairy tale. News flash. Terrestrial TV is over.

    • nerdrage says:

      Same here. Gave up broadcast and cable years ago. Don’t miss it.

      • Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

        Your idiosyncratic behavior is projectable to no one but you. See. That’s better. now You are free of carrying the weight of the TV world on your shoulders.

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