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IAB: Most U.S. Adults Own Streaming-Enabled TV

17 May, 2017 By: Doug McPherson


NEW YORK – The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reports that the majority of American adults now own a streaming-enabled television, marking a key shift in how viewers watch content in their homes.

In the report, The Changing TV Experience: 2017, the IAB defines a streaming-enabled TV as either a smart TV set or a screen connected to a set-top box.

Among the findings:

  • 56-percent more Americans own streaming-enabled TVs than they did in 2015.
  • 46 percent stream daily, up from about one-third in 2015.
  • 54 percent of viewers spend the majority of their time on TV watching something other than linear programming – including digital video, which comprises 20 percent of overall viewership.
  • 22 percent of streaming enabled TV owners say they “only or mostly” stream digital video on their TVs, up from 11 percent in 2015.
  • When streaming video on their televisions, half prefer to watch commercials to paying subscription fees.

“Streaming-enabled TVs have changed the way Americans watch television,” said Chris Kuist, senior vice president of research and impact at the IAB. “Streamed content from a myriad of sources – traditional TV networks or newer digital-only studios – is attracting people’s time and attention on the biggest screen in the home.”

Another report from Hub Research says 75 percent of all TV viewership still happens on a TV set. It’s what and how they’re watching that’s changing, though Hub says the usage figures would change dramatically in all cases if it only studied younger viewers.

Hub says 55 percent of respondents say pay-TV’s best feature is local TV, slightly ahead of TV’s “liveness” at 51 percent. Hub adds that just 5 percent of TV viewership happens via a tablet and 4 percent on smartphones. Sixty-one percent of this mobile/tablet viewing happens in the home.

Eighty-seven percent of Americans have a cable or satellite subscription. Another 7 percent are cord cutters, up from 5 percent in 2013, and 6 percent are cord-nevers.

Most of the cord-cutters are not millennials – only 31 percent are. But most of the cord-nevers are millennials – 57 percent. And most of the cord-nevers are women – seven out of 10, in fact. Only 19 percent of cord-nevers think TV is important or essential. Among cord-cutters, 36 percent do.

Meanwhile, YouTube reports its viewers worldwide are now watching more than 1 billion hours of video a day, boosted by algorithms personalizing user lineups, and threatening to eclipse U.S. television viewership. The number represents a 10-fold increase from 2012.


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