More Viewing Options are Cutting into Scheduled TV Watching

April 17, 2014
By: Gary Kim

Make no mistake, linear (scheduled) TV is still overwhelmingly the preferred method for watching television, with 84 percent of U.S. adults who watch TV watching live, in real time, according to BroadStream Solutions.

But there are signs of change. A separate study by Experian Marketing Services confirms that watching streaming or downloaded video on any device is connected to higher rates of cord-cutting, the abandonment of linear TV.

The fastest growth of “non-traditional” viewing is watching streamed or downloaded video on a television.

For instance, while adults who watch video on either a tablet or smartphone are 1.5 times more likely than average to be cord-cutters, those who watch streaming video on a television are 3.2 times more likely to be cable-cutters.

Furthermore, those who say that they use their television primarily for watching streaming or downloaded video are 5.7 times more likely to be cord-cutters.

At least so far, watching video on portable personal device is not an alternative to linear TV.

On the other hand, the ability to stream or download video directly to the television “seems to be the tipping point,” Experian Marketing Services says.

“We should expect to see the number of cord-cutters grow” as that behavior becomes more common, Experian Marketing Services argues.

The study by BroadStream Solutions also suggests that, at the moment, very few Americans want to watch on smaller screens.

About two percent of respondents prefer to watch on tablet devices. A similar two percent prefer to watch on mobile devices. Some four percent prefer to watch on desktop PCs and about seven percent prefer to watch on notebook PC screens.

On the other hand, the study by Experience found that “mobile is the first screen for online video,” with 24 percent of adults reporting they watch video on a smartphone every week.

Nearly 25 percent of all adults and 42 percent of smartphone owners watch video on their phones during a typical week, Experian Marketing Services reports.

The Experian study does suggest that watching online video on standard TV displays remains a relatively rare activity. Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. adults today report watching streaming or downloaded video on a television during a given week. 


Edited by Rory J. Thompson