Hulu Study IDs 4 Types of Streaming Consumers

The Disney-run platform is doing a wide-ranging study on the behavior of streaming users.
Courtesy of Hulu
Hulu's Julie DeTraglia

More than 90 percent of people ages 13 to 54 use at least one streaming service, a study from Hulu finds — but they don't use those services in any single way.

Hulu calls that cohort "Generation Stream" in a report it has released called "Unpacking the Streaming Experience." It looks at the way people use streaming platforms and identifies four distinct types of streaming consumers, with demographic and psychographic traits for each group. The study also contains some larger trends, including that about two-thirds of users prefer "lean back" viewing, i.e., using TV to relax rather than watching with full attention.

The report is the first in a series Hulu has commissioned to give a fuller picture of its user base to marketers and producers.

"Diving into the experiences and moods of Generation Stream further cements streaming TV as a foundational part of a viewer's day," said Julie DeTraglia, head of research and insights at Hulu. "The insights in this report uncover what inspires and moves this audience, so that Hulu and our partners can connect with them in meaningful ways, with content, brands and advertising. By exploring this coveted audience, who has been watching TV in a streaming environment for over a decade, Generation Stream helps us understand the why, who and how of streaming TV viewers, and will continue to do so in the coming reports."

The largest group of users, according to the study, falls under what Hulu calls "therapeutic streaming." It counts people who stream content as a way to decompress and "(lightly) reflect," and the content these users pick often has some nostalgia attached to it. Demographically, this group is also closest to the population as a whole.

Just under a quarter of users partake in "classic streaming" — watching usually at set times with family, friends or a partner as part of a daily routine. The key difference from traditional TV viewing, however, is that users aren't beholden to a primetime schedule in choosing what to watch. Classic streamers are more likely to be married than the general population and are slightly more affluent.

"Indulgent streaming" — the binge mode in Hulu's terminology — describes the habits of 21 percent of users who will spend a weekend racing through an entire season, or multiple seasons, of a series. The group skews somewhat older and is more likely to live alone.

The last group, making up 13 percent, is "curated streaming," people who seek out series and movies that create or drive cultural conversation, and also want to take part in the conversation. The group is more likely to be part of Generation Z.

Hulu teamed with research firm Culture Co-op for insights in the report and conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,500 people ages 13 to 54 in April.