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Survey Suggests Video Audience Is at Tipping Point

More than half prefer digital sources for favorite show

November 10, 2017

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.

Rimma Kats


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