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Survey Suggests Video Audience Is at Tipping Point

More than half prefer digital sources for favorite show

New data from Hub Research suggests that TV watching habits may be at a tipping point, with the majority of US TV viewers saying they mainly watch their favorite show via a digital source.

Primary Way in Which US TV Viewers Watch Their Favorite TV Show, 2014-2017 (% of respondents)

According to the latest edition of the firm’s annual “Conquering Content” report, 52% of respondents said they primarily watch their favorite show through online sources such as Netflix.

That represents a sharp change from 2014, when just 31% opted for digital sources.

Not surprisingly, Netflix is a key source for viewers, although the Hub Research survey found it still trailed live TV as the preferred option for watching a favorite show. When asked, “How do you watch your favorite show?” some 31% said “on live TV,” while 29% said Netflix. Just four years ago, the split was nowhere near as close, with 45% picking live TV and just 14% picking Netflix.

The shift to online sources doesn’t necessarily mean a viewer is lost for traditional TV platforms. When the survey asked if viewers had ever discovered a show online and then later watched it on regular TV, 57% said they had done so, slightly more than a year prior.

Preferred Devices for Viewing TV Shows According to Internet Users Worldwide, 2016 & 2017 (% of respondents)

Hub Research’s latest findings echo the results of a worldwide survey from Accenture, which found a more dramatic shift. The April 2017 Accenture study, which surveyed 26,000 internet users across the globe, found just 23% of respondents would rather watch TV shows in a traditional fashion.

That marked a significant change from 2016, when 52% said they still preferred traditional TV for viewing TV content.

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