TV habits change in US

09 September 2011

NEW YORK: Television viewing habits are changing in the US, with young consumers watching more content on the web and via mobile phones, a study has found.

Altman Vilandrie & Company, the consultancy, and Research Now, the survey firm, polled 1,000 adults to discuss evolving attitudes in this area.

They found only a third of 18–34 year olds view shows as they are first broadcast every day, compared with the figure of 58% posted by panel members over 35 years old.

A 60% majority of 18–34 year olds also watch online video once a week or more, and 11% play back TV programmes and movies on a mobile phone on a daily basis.

Using laptops or desktop PCs while the TV was on is also "common for all age groups", and 28% of people owning a tablet like the iPad use this device at least 50% of the time they are in front of the television.

Overall, 20% of respondents now spend less on cable TV than in the past - what the study described as "cord shaving" - as online video platforms meet their needs, a total rising from 15% in 2010.

Within this, 24% of 18-34 year olds with cable services have seriously considered "cutting the cord", although only between 3% and 4% of all consumers had actually done so thus far.

"Consumers are removing the shackles of the traditional primetime TV line-up and creating their own personal networks of preferred programming and viewing times," said Jonathan Hurd, a director at Altman Vilandrie & Company.

In an example of the growing integration between TV and the web, 23% of Netflix subscribers reported this was the main reason they paid for broadband, and 22% would downgrade their connection if they no longer used the streaming service.

Elsewhere, the study showed 41% of 18–34 year olds would prefer to utilise a smartphone, tablet or computer keyboard to change TV channel than use a remote control.

Similarly, half of 18–34 year olds wanted to access modified programme menus, such as a screen offering apps or pictures of the content available, rather than the current style of TV guide.

High-definition formats were popular among 75% of 18–24 year olds, suggesting service providers can attract a younger audience with excellent picture quality.

Data sourced from Altman Vilandrie & Company; additional content by Warc staff