NEW YORK: Subscribers to video streaming channels are four times more likely to watch TV shows than movies and are as likely to view classic shows as they are episodes first broadcast within the past year, according to a new survey.

The report, from market research firm GfK, analysed the viewing habits and preferences of 500 subscribers to Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus – all video-on-demand services.

Overall, TV shows were found to account for 81% of the 2,300 viewing segments tracked by the study, compared to 19% for movies. In all, 77% of Netflix subscribers preferred TV shows compared with 79% of users of Amazon Prime while, at 96%, Hulu Plus viewers watched TV shows almost exclusively.

The survey also found that streaming encouraged "episodic, niche viewing" with no particular TV show dominating preferences. Instead, users opted for a wide range of programmes.

For example, even though the "Star Trek" TV series catalogue received the most mentions, it still accounted for only 4% of the viewing segments measured. TV drama series "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" were both mentioned in 3% of segments with all other programmes at 2% or below.

David Tice, Senior Vice President of GfK Media and Entertainment, said that, until now, there has been little information about content watched and other key variables for subscription streaming despite it being recognised as a major factor in video use.

"We see that, contrary to broadcast TV's 'mass' audience model, streaming services generate episodic, niche viewing – more broad and unpredictable than even the 200 channels on your cable TV menu," he added. "These services provide the control and multiplicity of choice that consumers crave, and the result is very individual behaviour."

The report also found that about half of the streaming segments were watched on a TV set connected to the internet.

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff