Digital TV Viewing Jumps on Roku, Xbox as Laptops, Apple's IOS Take a Hit: Study (Exclusive)

Roku 3 Product - H 2014
Courtesy of Roku

Roku 3 Product - H 2014

Nearly half of all time spent watching TV Everywhere apps like HBO Now and WatchESPN occurs on TV-connected devices that let viewers stream from their living room, a new digital study reveals.

The promise of TV everywhere apps like HBO Now and WatchESPN is that cable subscribers can catch their favorite shows no matter where they're watching. But it turns out that to most people, "everywhere" increasingly means the living room.

There has been a 149 percent jump in the share of time that people spend watching TV Everywhere apps on connected TV devices, set-top boxes like Rokus or gaming consoles like Xboxes that allow people to stream videos on their television sets, according to the latest study from Adobe.

The tech company conducts a quarterly study about TV Everywhere habits using data it collects through its Primetime product, which allows people to authenticate their cable subscription to gain access to a TV Everywhere app. During the second quarter, Adobe looked at 1.6 billion TV Everywhere authentications and 300 different TV Everywhere websites and apps in North America to find that TV-connected devices have become the device of choice for people watching content via TV Everywhere.

"The programmers have started to draw more awareness to their TV Everywhere apps," explains Campbell Foster, director of product marketing at Adobe. "Two years ago, they weren't really shouting from the rooftops."

Adobe's latest report is being released as the media and viewers are talking a lot about TV Everywhere, especially as it relates to viewing of the Olympics. Streaming via NBC's Sports Live Extra app is a TV Everywhere experience, and the broadcaster says nearly 50 million viewers streamed 3.4 billion minutes of NBC Rio coverage on web, mobile and connected devices. Although the Olympics won't factor into Adobe's research until it releases its third-quarter report, the Q2 report indicates that NBC's streaming numbers are in line with a trend toward increased overall TV Everywhere viewing, which is up 78 percent in unique visitor growth since the same period last year.

But as TV-connected devices are accounting for a larger share of watch time, other platforms are starting to see dwindling usage: Share of watch time on browsers and iOS devices like iPads and iPhones has declined since last year.

It's worth noting that the share of TV Everywhere authentications on browsers still increased year-over-year, but once people were logged in they were watching video for shorter periods of time. iOS' share of authentications has declined since last year, indicating that the decline in share of watch time was driven by fewer people logging in to begin with.

But even as iOS usage drops off, Android share of authentications and watch time is on the rise. Foster says that's likely because of the growing popularity of the Chromecast, a more affordable streaming option that transfers what someone is streaming on an Android device onto a TV. It's another sign that people are more inclined to watch TV Everywhere in their homes than ever before.

"Over half of authentications are taking place inside the home," notes Campbell. "We were surprised, but the majority of watching is happening when people are in their living room."

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.