Consumers TV-Viewing Habits Detailed In New Study

Illustration by: Paweł Jońca
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The latest research from NATPE and CES finds that people think there is more to watch and are likely to be influenced by recommendations as well as word of mouth

MIAMI BEACH — There was good news about streaming movies, TV shows and other content in part two of a study from NATPE/Content First and the Consumer Electronics Association, which was released here on Tuesday.

The study conducted by E-Poll Market Research found that viewers who stream content on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, network websites and elsewhere watch more TV and are more likely to use recommendation engines to find even more content.

Those who stream also say they have a more positive impression of the quality and variety of TV content that is available; and that makes them more willing to sample a wider variety of programming.

This is the second year that NATPE and CES have jointly sponsored research into changing consumer viewing habits. CES looks at the devices being used while NATPE is focused on what people watch.

"Our joint study confirms that consumers are increasingly embracing streaming as a means of discovering and viewing TV programming," said CEA president/ CEO Gary Shapiro. "As content distribution evolves, device manufacturers are launching a variety of innovations that deliver richer experiences and empower consumers with 'anytime/anywhere' access to their favorite television programs."

The study found consumers seek out programming from more outlets than in the past. A full 71 percent said they have watched full-length streaming programming in the past six months.

The top sources for streaming content were Netflix (40 percent), YouTube (26 percent), network websites (25 percent), sites with free programming (22 percent) and network apps (12 percent).

Comedy is the genre most watched by Millennials who turn to Netflix first for streaming content. Gen Xers and Boomers are most likely to watch movies and dramas.

Gen Xers first source for viewing TV programming is live television followed by shows saved on their DVR.

Boomers differ because of their high affinity (77 percent) for live programs, especially local and then national news and weather.

Technology is also changing the way viewers find content, especially among younger consumers. Word of mouth still drives a lot of viewing but recommendations from something like Netflix are gaining in importance.

Among Millennials and those who subscribe to SVOD (services like Netflix), the "recommended for you" feature based on what shows you have watched is an important source of new program choices.

As viewers find out about new shows on their streaming devices, they tend to sample more and watch shows they otherwise would not have known about.

Nearly half of SVOD subscribers have found new programming through streaming that the then watch on live TV. More than seven in ten viewers say networks that they already watch are an important source of information about new programming.

More than half of viewers are watching a greater variety of programming than in the past and this increases to 60 percent among millennials.

SVOD subscribers are more favorable toward program quality than nonsubscribers with 60 percent saying, "there are more high quality programs available" and 70 percent say there is a “greater variety of programs than in the past (compared to 63 percent of non-subscribers).”

For SVOD subscribers, the ability to "binge" watch a number of programs from the same series in a row allows them to catch up and makes them more loyal to the programs, keeping them watching.

"If a great show is created but no one is there to see it," said NATPE president/CEO Rod Perth, "then what’s the point? It's critical that we understand the path of content and new ways to market and reach audiences that have scores of new platform alternatives, so that programmers can maximize sampling and repeat viewership, as well as sustain the costs of production."

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