Linear TV still dominates in US

31 October 2011

NEW YORK: Consumers in the US spend over 150 hours a month watching broadcast content, with linear viewing still responsible for the vast majority of this total despite the rise of online services.

Horowitz Associates, the research firm, surveyed 1,046 broadband internet users aged 15 years old and above to gauge emerging habits in this area.

It revealed that the "non-traditional" viewing time recorded by television content, via digital platforms like Hulu and YouTube for example, has reached 10.8 hours a month.

However, this equates to just 7% of the total amount of time spent consuming broadcast content in the same period. Live TV viewing accounted for 149.4 hours.

Overall, some 54% of the internet population now play back broadcast material through "alternative platforms" at least once a week.

Among 18-34 year olds this figure rises to 74%. This group spent 10% of its entire viewing time watching non-linear formats.

Moreover, members of this demographic also devoted more time to traditional television, on 167.7 hours per month, 18 hours ahead of the norm.

YouTube remains the most popular digital channel for broadcast material, although ESPN has assumed the top spot for sports content, as did CNN for news and HBO for premium content.

Turning to advertising, the study stated that the frequency with which respondents reported clicking on banners and pop-ups had grown by 127% year on year.

"While at the very margins non-traditional video platforms may erode traditional TV viewing, it is becoming increasingly clear that there will be a net gain for media brands, advertisers, and consumers," said Adriana Waterston, Horowitz Associates' VP, marketing and business development.

"This will come hand in hand with a big shift in consumers' viewing patterns and expectations about accessing, sharing, and otherwise controlling their TV viewing experience, not only on alternative platforms but on the traditional TV platform as well."

Data sourced from Horowitz Associates; additional content by Warc staff