NEW YORK: Streaming is making steady inroads into the viewing habits of American consumers with four in ten regularly watching shows this way and a far higher proportion of millennials doing so, new research has shown.

The Harris Poll surveyed 2,300 online US adults surveyed online in April 2014 and found that 23% of respondents were watching more online/streaming television programming now than a year ago, and that 18% expected to be in that position a year from now.

Overall, 77% said they regularly watched television shows via either cable (55%) or satellite TV (23%), while 43% did so via streaming, a figure that jumped to 67% among millennials.

The use of exclusive content is clearly a factor in these decisions, as 38% of respondents had subscribed to premium cable channels in order to watch specific shows, while 24% had subscribed to one or more streaming services for the same reason.

Streaming-dominant viewers also appeared keen to avoid advertising: 40% indicated they would be willing to pay more for a service that allowed them to stream current shows without the intrusion of ads.

But a greater attraction was the ability to have an input into programming decisions. Some 60% would like to be able to watch TV pilots and vote on what gets ordered as a full series.

In terms of how streaming viewers were watching TV shows, 74% used a computer and 55% a television, whether via a smart TV, set-top box or game system. Some 37% also used a tablet and 30% a smartphone; among owners of these devices the proportions rose to 63% and 42% respectively.

The Harris Poll further observed that "distracted viewing continues to be the norm" as almost eight in ten (78%) respondents admitted to having done other things while watching TV.

Usually this involved various online activities (63%), while texting (35%) and reading a book magazine or newspaper (30%) were also popular.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff