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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