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OTT devices boost TV viewing

News, 03 December 2014

NEW YORK: Almost one-fifth (19%) of American TV viewers now own at least one of the three most popular digital streaming media players, which have not erased the appeal of traditional TV for many users, a new report has found.

According to research firm GfK, these top-selling OTT devices have witnessed a surge in adoption rates since 2010 when just 2% of US TV households owned a media player from Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.

But rather than prompting most viewers to "cord cut" their pay TV service, GfK's "Digital Media Players 2014" report found these devices often supplement their broadcast TV usage.

Depending on the brand in question, 43% to 50% of digital media player owners say they use the devices in addition to their regular TV viewing, compared with 31% to 42% who say they use them to substitute for traditional TV.

GfK found Chromecast owners are the most likely to report that their digital devices supplement, rather than replace, broadcast TV, although Roku owners are the most likely to report "cord cutting".

In total, about a third (29% to 38%) of digital player owners say they have reduced or eliminated their pay TV service because of their usage of the devices.

"Digital media players take a primary role in users' viewing behaviour, ranking as the first or second destination – ahead of live TV or DVRs – when deciding what to watch in primetime," said David Tice, senior vp at GfK.

"However, a positive note for linear networks is that digital media player users don't perceive their use as cannibalising their regular TV viewing," he added.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff