Advanced Television

Research: Co-viewing on increase

January 16, 2019

While more and more Americans are watching video content – TV shows, movies, and short video – on their smartphones, research from MRI shows that video remains a highly social medium.

The latest findings from MRI’s Cord Evolution research show that Americans watch TV or video in groups almost half (48 per cent) of their total viewing time. In addition, 49 per cent of all adults – and 60 per cent in the 18-to-34 age group – report that they are ‘co-viewing’ more often now than they did three years ago.

Over half (58 per cent) of co-viewing time is spent watching with a ‘significant other’, while children account for 19 per cent; adult family members, 16 per cent; and friends, 9 per cent. Preferred genres for watching with others change depending on who else is in the room; while Movies come in first or second in all four co-viewing situations, and Comedy TV Shows consistently place in the top three, Sports score highest when friends are the co-viewers.

MRI also found that more than half (55 per cent) of solo viewers are men. Parents, on the other hand, are more likely to be co-viewers; three-quarters (77 per cent) of parental co-viewers have children under the age of 11 in the home, while one-quarter (23 per cent) have children ages 12 to 17.

The new data show that co-viewing is not a platform-driven behaviour. MRI found that, when asked which types of TV services they use most often when co-viewing, Americans were equally likely to say they co-view via traditional TV services (48 per cent – cable, satellite, fibre optic service) and streaming services (52 per cent – Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.). Not surprisingly, younger adults (ages 18-34) are more likely than average to choose streaming as their medium of co-viewing (72 per cent).

“The social nature of TV viewing continues to drive people to this enjoyable shared experience,” said Amy Hunt, VP of TVideo Media Sales at MRI. “A lot has been said recently about the introduction of dynamically inserted ads for shows; but this seems to be predicated on the idea of only one target watching. The increase of co-viewing suggests that more ad options will need to be available, to appeal to the widest possible audience range.”

Top TV/video genres for watching with others
Friends Children Adult Family
#1 Movies Movies Children TV Movies
#2 Comedy TV Sports Movies Comedy TV
#3 Drama TV Comedy TV Comedy TV News
#4 News Drama TV Game shows Sports
#5 Sports Reality TV Sports Drama TV

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