According to data from TDG, home network diffusion among US broadband households has reached 84 per cent, up from 81 per cent in 2011. TDG’s latest report on the key trends impacting digital media, also notes that router placement and network-related behaviour is increasingly defined by streaming media as opposed to data-related activities.
“Over the years, we have predicted and witnessed the movement of home network routers toward primary living spaces concomitant with the uptake of net-enabled video platforms and over-the-top video services,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG co-founder and author of the new research report. “Today, more than a third of routers are found in the primary living spaces, nearly twice the number of routers located in spaces dedicated to home office functionality.”
As well, Greeson points to the continued shift in how these networks are used. “Just a few years ago, network use was dominated by data-centric activities (email, messaging, productivity applications, etc.), with few consumers actually using their home networks to access and share digital media. Today, however, 62 per cent of networked households are using their network to stream digital media.”
And both of these attributes – network placement and primary use – are highly correlated with age. That is, the younger the head-of-household, the more likely that (a) the router is located in the primary living space, and (b) the network is used to stream digital media.
First, TDG found a strong correlation between router placement and age, especially among networked Millennials (adult heads-of-household 18 to 34 years of age): they are significantly more likely than other age groups to place their router in the living/family room. Conversely, Millennials are least likely to have their gateways in an area of the home they call a “home office.” Why would this be?
“Millennials exhibit dramatically different network use profiles than their older counterparts,” argues Greeson, “especially when it comes to media streaming. Younger consumers want their router located closest to the devices it serves most, which are increasingly found in the home’s primary entertainment center – that is, in the living room.”
According to TDG’s data, nearly eight in ten Millennials use their home networks to stream media, a rate that also declines as age increases. Nearly two in five Millenials say they disproportionately use their network to stream media, a rate twice as high as those 35 and older.