OTT viewers watch more Netflix than Amazon, YouTube and Hulu combined

Netflix continues to loom large over the OTT video market and new numbers show that’s translating to an overwhelming command over total U.S. OTT viewing hours.

According to ComScore, Netflix accounts for 40% of all U.S. OTT viewing hours. That’s good enough to account for more than Amazon’s (7%), YouTube’s (18%) and Hulu’s (14%) shares combined.

While Netflix leads the pack in terms of penetration in Wi-Fi households at around 40%, Hulu is leading the charge in terms of average viewing hours per month per household at close to 30.

Hulu is also leading the top four video services in terms of engagement with viewers. Typical Hulu households average 2.9 hours of viewing per day, while Netflix averages 2.2, Amazon averages 2, and YouTube, somewhat surprisingly, averages 2.1.

ComScore said the increase in YouTube’s engagement times can likely be attributed to the service’s transition over time toward including more long-form content.

While other SVODs are outpacing Netflix in engagement times among viewers, Netflix is still likely out front in terms of the popularity of its original series.

Demand for Netflix originals is on average 8 times higher than that for Amazon’s originals, according to a study by Parrot Analytics released earlier this year.

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Here’s the latest data on streaming TV apps

More homes than not in the US are streaming TV and entertainment content. And those that stream do so, on average, 49 hours a month.

That’s according to comScore, which declared in a recent presentation, “State of OTT,” that over-the-top (OTT) viewing, defined specifically as streaming content on a TV set, is the opposite of a fringe behaviour. It is, indeed, a mainstream activity.

That’s not to say that half of Americans have hopped on to the cord-cutting train. Rather, the new normal is to supplement cable TV with OTT apps such as Netflix, Hulu or YouTube.

You probably already figured as much, but I still think the more granular data is interesting.

In April, 51 million US homes used OTT services, which amounts to 54% of all homes with wireless internet access, according to comScore. The firm collects data from devices, placed in 12,500 homes that can measure consumption behaviours across all internet-connected devices in a household.

I do have one problem with comScore’s study, and that has to do with the firm’s definition of OTT. ComScore excludes mobile viewing, limiting OTT to something seen on a TV set. That’s a mistake, as Americans, especially younger ones, are beginning to favour smartphones over TVs for viewing entertainment.

But as far as OTT TV apps go, Netflix reigns supreme, capturing 40% market share of all viewing hours. YouTube, meanwhile, has 18% share of the market. Hulu’s cut is 14% and Amazon Video’s slice is 7% of all OTT viewing hours.

So what about cord-cutters and cord-nevers, as in the folks who forgo traditional pay TV for a streaming-only, or streaming-plus-antenna, entertainment diet? By comScore’s count, 34% of all OTT viewers – or more than 17 million US households – are cordless. Of this bunch, there’s a 50-50 split between households that only stream and those that throw an antenna for over-the-air broadcasts into the mix.

Why do I point this out? After all, it’s not exactly shocking. Cable executives and industry analysts have estimated that about 20 million American homes are cordless. What strikes me, though, is just how much attention is being paid to the behaviours of cord-cutters and the changing landscape of TV. As a result, we’re getting more insight than ever.

Take this nugget: cord-cutters average 81 hours of streaming time per month, while cord-nevers stream 61 hours a month.

There’s also comScore’s finding that 3.1 million U.S. households are, as of April, skinny bundle customers, meaning these folks are paying for a streaming cable alternative to get their network television fix. And, according to comScore, more than 2 million of those homes have chosen Sling TV.

ComScore only considered Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, so the number is surely even greater now that YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV are also available.

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Cord-cutters consuming 60% more OTT content than other viewers

The bad news for the established TV industry is that cord-cutting is carrying on apace, but in a crumb of comfort it appears that such people are not turning their back on TV and video per se, just how it is offered to them.

An analysis by comScore looking at the over-the-top (OTT) viewing habits of US households found that the average OTT viewing home spends 49 hours a month viewing OTT content, while cord-cutter homes consume 79 hours of OTT content a month, roughly 2.5 hours per day and 60% more than the average. By comparison, the average US household watched 225 hours of traditional linear TV content.

Looking to find who the cord-cutters may be, the survey found that they are more likely to have annual incomes of $75,000 or less, and the lower the income, the more likely they are to be a cord-cutter. Homes with annual incomes of $60,000 to $75,000 are 8% more likely to be cord-cutters compared to the average OTT viewing Wi-Fi enabled home. Homes with income between $40,000 and $60,000, were 14% more likely, while those homes with less than $40,000 annual income were 20% more likely. The homes least likely to cut the cord are homes with incomes between $75,000 and $150,000.

Mike Rich, VP, emerging products at comScore, suggested that these cord-cutting households seem to have less of an overall appetite for television content, which may explain their decision to cut the cord. “Without pay-TV competing for their attention, cord-cutters do tend to watch quite a bit more OTT content,” he explained. “They spend 41% more time on Netflix, 47% more time on YouTube, 45% more time on Amazon Video, and 13% more time on Hulu compared with the average OTT viewer.”

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ComScore Now Shows Advertisers Who’s Watching Their Content

For a while now, those in the television industry have been clamoring for viewership data on people watching content on streaming services, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. And it appears measurement firm comScore, which has been nipping at Nielsen’s heels for some time, is attempting to step up to the plate.

According to Fierce Cable, comScore is promising viewership data for streaming content on TV screens through a new service called OTT Intelligence. The data is gathered through comScore’s Total Home Panel, a platform that has access to audience statistics based on approximately 12,500 households and 150,000 active devices.

Subscribers to OTT Intelligence will have access to metrics including household reach, audience size and usage for the aforementioned streaming services as well as YouTube. The company said the data can be segmented for cord-cutting and cord-never homes as well as those with a cable or satellite subscriptions.

“With very limited insight into viewing behavior across providers, the OTT market has largely been a black box,” said Mike Rich, comScore vp of emerging products, in a statement. “As more TV viewers look beyond traditional content sources, it’s more important than ever for networks, content producers, device manufacturers and others in the ecosystem to understand this growing segment of cross-platform viewing.”

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon occasionally provide updates about their total number of subscribers, but they’re traditionally far vaguer when it comes to releasing viewership data for their original content.

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Prime-time is still king, however you watch

It’s becoming increasingly clear that, despite the fact we can watch anytime, we continue to gravitate to traditional prime-time hours. And that is regardless of the device we are using.

Data from comScore shows that however we watch video, the most frequent time for viewing is between 8 and 11PM each night. Television, of course, has lived by primetime for decades. However, it looks like the DVR was made for it. In the peak viewing hour, 9 to 10PM, 17% of household DVR viewing takes place. Both television and online viewing see a much smaller peak, about 8%, occurring in that hour.

The BBC confirms that the peak of on-demand viewing occurs at almost the same time as regular television viewing. At 9PM, TV viewing peaks with 27 million viewers. The peak in iPlayer usage occurred slightly earlier in February 2017. There were 763,000 iPlayer TV requests about an hour earlier than the TV. Unlike TV viewing, however, the peak in iPlayer requests is sustained much longer, through until about 10PM.

Incidentally, the BBC points out that the Internet peak, which includes all consumer usage, not just video, occurs at 4PM.

Viewing peaks at primetime through all devices

In the recent free nScreenMedia white paper The Secret Life of Streamers, new Conviva data reveals that primetime is peak viewing time regardless of the screen used. The two biggest screens, the connected TV and the PC, show the biggest peaks at 9PM each night. During that hour, connected TV video plays are 2.7 times higher than in the average hour. PC video plays are 1.7 times bigger than average hour plays.

The tablet and smartphone peaks are twice the average hour plays for each device.

This data reflects the very different usage patterns for each of the connected devices. The connected TV is a favored device for consumers to turn to when they want to enjoy their favorite shows on SVOD. For example, Netflix reports most of its viewing is on connected TVs. Whereas, the smartphone is used more consistently throughout day. When it comes to nighttime viewing, consumers turn to the biggest screen at their disposal to watch high value content.

One interesting thing to note about the PC is the peak in viewing that occurs around noon each day. This may suggest that a favorite lunchtime activity at work is catching up with a favorite show, or the latest YouTube video.

On-demand viewing, bigger screens preferred for prime-time

This data suggests two things:

On-demand platforms support and enhance the viewers desire to watch during prime-time
Viewers continue to gravitate to the biggest screen available between 8-11PM.

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