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Figures released by the The NPD Group in March 2015 put the installed base of US connected TVs at 22 million in Q4 2014, up from 13 million in Q4 2013. This growth pushed the number of connected TVs above that of Blu-ray disc players, which had an installed base of 20 million in Q4 2014, compared with 17 million in Q4 2013. The NPD Group defines connected TVs as installed and internet-connected devices that deliver broadband applications and are actually connected to the internet.
Smart and connected TVs allow users to watch shows by accessing branded apps on the screen, and November 2014 polling by HUB Research found that there was decent demand among users for such services. The study looked at more than 1,000 US TV viewers ages 16 to 74 who watched at least 5 hours of TV per week and found that among those who had a smart or connected TV, one-third accessed TV shows via on-screen apps at least once per week, with more than four in 10 of those respondents doing so daily. Nearly one-quarter of owners viewed television content this way at least once or several times each month.
Among millennials, usage was higher. Nearly four in 10 (39%) with a smart or connected TV watched shows by accessing apps on the screen at least weekly.
Increasing connected TV usage and on-screen app access reflects consumers’ growing desire for on-demand TV content. For example, in February 2015, HUB found that 53% of US TV viewers’ time spent watching TV was timeshifted. In addition, in October 2014 research by Ipsos for Sky, 46% of US internet users said they watched video-on-demand weekly or daily.
eMarketer defines connected TVs as TV sets connected to the internet through built-in internet capability or through another device such as Blu-ray player, game console, set-top box (e.g., Apple TV, Google TV, Roku) and so forth. We estimate that this year, 138.8 million US consumers—or 54.1% of internet users and 43.2% of the population—will access the internet through a connected TV at least once per month. Smart TVs are defined more narrowly as sets with built-in internet capability. eMarketer forecasts that the number of US smart TV users will reach 58.5 million this year, representing 22.8% of internet users and 18.2% of the population.
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