Broadband, multi-platform video shifting TV viewing habits

Over half (54 per cent) of broadband Internet users watch TV content streamed or on an alternative platform weekly, according to consumer research firm Horowitz Associates. Non-traditional viewing now accounts for 10.8 hours a month, or seven per cent of total viewing time, with 149.4 hours still dedicated to traditional TV.

The firm’s Multiplatform Content & Services 2011 study finds that compared to the average broadband Internet user, 18 to 34 year-olds spend substantially more time with TV content across all platforms. Incidence of non-traditional TV viewing is higher among young adult broadband Internet users, with three-quarters (74 per cent) of 18 to 34 year-olds doing so weekly— accounting for 10 per cent of their total viewing time. Broadband users 18 to 34 who watch on non-traditional platforms also spend more time with traditional TV, reporting an average of 167.7 monthly viewing hours—18+ hours more than average.

On non-traditional platforms, YouTube remains the most popular destination for most video. Study findings suggest, however, that TV brands developing a strong online and mobile presence can translate their success to new platforms. For example, ESPN is the most frequently mentioned destination for sports on the PC/laptop and on mobile devices. CNN (closely followed by YouTube) is the main destination for news, as is HBO/HBO GO for those who view premium TV content.

As business and revenue models for non-traditional platforms evolve, the study suggests an increase in customers’ receptivity to online advertising. Among broadband Internet users, self-reported incidence of clicking on banner and pop up ads increased by 127 per cent since last year.

“Our study has tracked the evolution of alternative TV since its inception,” notes Adriana Waterston, Horowitz’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. “While at the very margins, non-traditional video platforms may erode traditional TV viewing, it is becoming increasingly clear that there will be a net gain for media brands, advertisers, and consumers. This will come hand in hand with a big shift in consumers’ viewing patterns and expectations about accessing, sharing, and otherwise controlling their TV viewing experience, not only on alternative platforms but on the traditional TV platform as well.”

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