October 06, 2012

Although cord cutting may be playing a significant role in some consumers downgrading and cutting their cable TV services, TV viewers as a whole are upping their streamed content consumption compared to last year. TVGuide.com found that 42% of US TV viewers watched more streamed content in 2012 than they did in 2011.

The survey found large gains in use of Netflix, iTunes and Movies On Demand subscriptions. To illustrate, 55% of US TV viewers used Netflix’s online streaming service in 2012, compared to only 36% in 2011. Movies On Demand nearly doubled in usage with 40% of TV viewers reportedly using the service in 2012. Amazon Instant Video, a newer player in the market, saw its service more than triple in usage—34% of TV viewers said they used the service in 2012, compared to only 10% in 2011. Hulu Plus saw similar gains.

Online TV content is growing in popularity—and not just due to consumers cutting back their spending on cable TV services. TVGuide.com surveyed TV viewers on their reasons for watching streamed video content. The overwhelming reason (among 73% of US TV viewers) was to catch up on missed episodes. Along those same lines, 56% said they streamed content online in order to catch up on shows discovered mid-season or in between seasons. Only 8% said it was because of cutting back on cable and only 10% said it was due to canceling cable entirely.

The TVGuide.com study also acknowledged heavy mobile video streaming. According to the findings, 68% watched between one and five hours of video per week on tablets and mobile phones. Moreover, mobile users reported paying for 10% of their streamed content.

A different study by Interpret, commissioned by Discovery Communications, also showed high usage of mobile streaming. The research indicated that 29% of US internet users have watched TV content through a mobile device. A big portion of that usage is being done through tablet and smartphone streaming apps, 16% and 14%, respectively.

Cable TV viewing and online streaming are not mutually exclusive. In fact, cable TV subscribers may be heavily contributing to the growing online streaming phenomenon. Mobile streaming, especially on tablets, will likely continue to bump up streaming usage, especially as TV viewers continue to demand access to their favorite shows at any and all times.

For more information at http://www.emarketer.com

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