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Study: 28% of all TV viewing is now streaming

As consumers embrace and experiment with a host of new ways of watching TV content, a new GfK MRI report has identified six new TV viewing audience groups and how they combine emerging and traditional options for TV use.

TV Share of Clock – the first of four studies in GfK MRI’s new The Future of TV series – shows that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of all TV viewing is now done via digital streaming. Accessing subscription or free online platforms via a computer or mobile device accounts for 16 per cent of time spent with TV content; online streaming through a traditional TV set makes up another 9 per cent; and 3 per cent comes from other methods for accessing content, such as portable game consoles.

The new report also reveals that 41 per cent of TV viewers are ‘Digital Enthusiasts’, who subscribe to at least three digital TV services online, as well as maintain a traditional pay TV subscription (cable/satellite/telco). Other new and emerging viewer groups identified through this study include:

  • ‘TV 2.0’ – combine the best of both worlds, accessing traditional and streaming TV content, mostly through their TV sets

  • ‘On-the-Go Getters’ – watch their TV programming only on mobile devices

Digital Enthusiasts are more likely than other groups to use TV network apps for TV viewing; 44 per cent currently use network apps that do not require a cable subscription, and 35 per cent use network apps that do require a cable subscription. Overall, Digital Enthusiasts spend $10.80 per month on apps; the majority (57 per cent) are also frequent (“all the time/often”) binge viewers, and they note that the Internet is their “most trusted media source”.

In addition, TV Share of Clock testifies to the growing importance of mobile TV watching; 30 per cent of TV viewers report watching a program on a smartphone in the past 30 days, and 29 per cent say they have used a tablet to watch TV content in the same time frame. Overall, smartphones and tablets account for 8 per cent of all TV time; and the average number of apps used to view TV programmes in the past 30 days is about seven for mobile devices.

Yet the report also documents the continuing appeal of traditional ‘live’ TV viewing. “Watch a show live when it is first broadcast” placed at #1 among favourite ways to watch TV; and viewing “live when broadcast” accounts for 39 per cent of all time spent using TV content.

TV Share of Clock – which GfK MRI previewed at this year’s ARF Audience Measurement conference – was conducted among respondents to the company’s Survey of the American Consumer.

“Our study reveals important new populations of TV viewers, emphasising how TV has taken on a whole new meaning, with different approaches to combining streaming and traditional platforms and viewing,” said Christie Kawada, Executive Vice President of Product Management and Innovation at GfK MRI. “We live in a new type of video ecosystem, where online video and live TV co-exist amongst traditional cable offerings, apps, and digital streaming of live TV. These platforms are creating added demand for one another; viewers are checking out more – and different – content, and ultimately watching more. Even digitally savvy viewers still value time-honored TV experiences, like social viewing and second-screen experiences, thus keeping linear viewing strong in today’s digital world.”

“With its direct links to the GfK MRI consumer database, TV Share of Clock connects expanded insight into this new digital world to action,” said Michael Drankwalter, Executive Vice President of Syndicated Media Sales for GfK MRI. “For any viewer segment, content publishers can get a deep sense of their buying styles, advertising attitudes, personal values, leisure time activities, and much more. And best yet, all insights coming from these emerging TV viewing groups can also be profiled at the network and show levels to make all the data relevant to everyone’s business.”

TV Share of Clock is based on a re-contact survey conducted from January to April 2015 among 5,599 respondents to GfK MRI’s The Survey of the American Consumer. GfK MRI will integrate many of the same questions into its ongoing Future of TV research, creating a trendable database with links to the company’s profile data on US consumers.

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