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Research: Traditional TV Viewing Remains Strong

19 Apr, 2017 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – Reports of TV’s death are greatly exaggerated, according to new research.

The amount of time people spend watching traditional TV remains relatively unchanged by subscription-video-on-demand services (SVODs) offered by Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, says new a study by Pivotal Research Group

Despite the rise in competition, the average time a household spends watching traditional TV every week has only dropped two hours in the past two years, from 70.1 at the end of the first quarter of 2015 to 68.3 at the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, said marketers “don’t necessarily need to be concerned by the growing presence of SVOD services. Relatively few [consumers] have cut the cord to rely exclusively on ad-free SVOD services, meaning that TV can mostly work much as it had in the past for large advertisers.”

Pivotal examined all household levels of TV consumption, including free-to-air TV, ad-supported cable TV, premium TV, DVDs, video game consoles, and internet-connected devices. So the data includes consumers that use their video game consoles, such as an Xbox, Playstation, or Wii, and internet-connected devices, such as Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Apple TV, to watch these services from their TV sets.

Even when excluding viewers who access Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime using internet-connected devices on TV sets (which make up 11 percent of homes with SVODs), the average number of hours people have spent watching TV a week has only fallen by five hours, from 68.5 to 63.7 in the same two years.

Among the findings: homes with SVOD services watch an average of 64.3 hours of TV a week, while those without SVODs watch 73.5 hours a week.

In its just released quarterly “Total Audience” report on video watching, Nielsen says adults spent 86 percent of their viewing time with traditional television in the fourth quarter of 2016. Nielsen says TV viewing declined by just three minutes a day in each of the past two seasons.

Still, Pivotal reports that the number of homes with SVODs is growing. At the end of the first quarter of 2017, SVODs could be found in 58 percent of homes, a significant increase from 43 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Another study from IPG Mediabrands’ Magna says TV continues to pull in far more advertising dollars as well. In 2016, national and local TV advertising pulled in $67 billion, compared to $70 billion across all facets of digital advertising.

However, a new Deloitte “Digital Democracy” survey says, “The movement of consumers away from traditional media viewing and toward streamed online content continues to accelerate, forcing companies across industries to plot new strategies.”

When Deloitte examined who’s watching, it found 60 percent between the ages of 14-50 are now subscribing to at least one paid digital service, consistent with Pivotal’s headcount.

About the Author: Doug McPherson

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