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Video Streaming Beats DVR and VOD Viewing

Full-length movies are the most popular digital video content

September 6, 2013

The amount of time TV viewers in the US spend watching digital video is rising fast, especially as their choices for where and what to watch continue to expand. An Ipsos MediaCT survey of TV viewers—defined as those who watch TV during primetime at least twice per week—found that in May 2013, more than half of 18- to 34-year-old respondents watched digital video or streamed digital content at least once a week. A solid 40% did so at least once a day.

Among respondents between 35 and 49 years old, there was a lower incidence of watching digital video daily, at a still-significant 21%, while another 21% watched digital content at least once a week.

Frequency with Which US TV Viewers* Watch Digital Video or Stream Digital Content, by Age, May 2013 (% of respondents)

Live TV remained the most common type of content that TV viewers watched during primetime, with 67% doing so. But of the other viewing options available, streaming content and online video won out over DVR content and video-on-demand (VOD). Nearly half of viewers watched streaming or online video between 8pm and 12am vs. 36% who watched via the DVR at that time, and 28% who watched VOD.

Types of Content US TV Viewers* Watch During Primetime**, May 2013 (% of respondents)

When drilling down to how streamers watch video, a July 2013 Harris Interactive poll of US web users found that 35% of respondents often or sometimes streamed video through a subscription service, such as Netflix. Purchasing or renting individual videos was far less common, though 19% of respondents reported at least sometimes doing so.

Frequency with Which US Internet Users Watch or Purchase Streaming Videos, July 2013 (% of respondents)

As for what type of digital video and streamed content got the most attention among TV viewers, Ipsos’ study found that full-length movies led the way, with 62% watching this type of digital video. Cable or broadcast network content followed, at 45%, while 38% of respondents watched longer-form original content.

The findings suggest that movie viewing remains a primary function of digital video viewing, allowing viewers to watch movies in their own homes or on the go. But increasingly, digital video is also serving this function for TV, cutting into time spent in front of live TV.

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