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TV Watchers Want Original Content, No Matter the Platform

Netflix follows cable for highest percentage with subscriptions

October 1, 2013

The days of cable companies maintaining a stranglehold on content pipelines are a distant memory. Today, TV viewers have a wealth of options available to them, with some of the most appealing TV content coming though digital channels. But research shows that those who watch TV content place a premium on the ability to watch original programming.

In a June 2013 survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 63% of US internet users said that an offer of original content was at least somewhat important in influencing their decision to select a particular subscription service. And the importance of original content offerings was most pronounced among those ages 25 to 34.

Importance of Original Programming When Selecting a Video Subscription Service According to US Internet Users, by Age, June 2013 (% of respondents)

Netflix, clearly realizing that studios and other content producers are moving into the digital distribution game, have fired back with their own attempts at content creation. And they’ve already met with success—the David Fincher-directed online show “House of Cards” recently won an Emmy, marking the first time an online video distributor snagged such an honor.

When it came to assessing the popularity of online sites hosting TV content, Netflix took top honors. More than six in 10 respondents said they relied on Netflix to watch shows. In comparison, just under half visited TV network sites, while just over one-third used Hulu, and almost three in 10 subscribed to Amazon Prime.

Sites Used to Access TV Content Online by US Internet Users, June 2013 (% of respondents)

But when it came to pay TV packages that respondents subscribed to, cable TV still dominated. Seventy percent of respondents shelled out for cable TV, while only 41% splurged on Netflix. Amazon Prime was the next most popular digital channel users subscribed to, at 18%, followed by iTunes (16%) and Hulu (8%).

Pay TV Services to Which US Internet Users Currently Subscribe, by Age, June 2013 (% of respondents)

Cable was especially popular with those ages 18 to 24, with the data providing a counterargument to the idea that younger consumers are more willing to cut the cable cord.

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