Fifty-one percent of U.S. population watches streaming video weekly
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Fifty-one percent of U.S. population watches streaming video weekly

Call it a tipping point -- more than half (51%) of the U.S. population (ages 13 to 54) now watches TV programs or movies using streaming video at least once a week. Connected TVs, mobile devices, videogame consoles, and streaming services such as Netflix have helped turn a “tecchie” phenomenon into a mainstream entertainment source.

According to a just-released GfK report, "How People Use Media: Over-the-Top TV 2013," the weekly streaming audience for TV and movies in the US has risen from 37% three years ago to 48% in 2012, and edged over the halfway point in the past year.

Tablets and smartphones are playing emerging roles in this transformation; 5% of consumers now use a tablet to watch streaming video of TV programs or movies on a weekly basis, while 4% use a smartphone. Among those who watch TV or movies on tablets or smartphones, three in five say they access such content through an app, while one-third stream directly from a website; the breakdown for smartphones is roughly the same.

Internet-connected TVs are key factors in streaming video, and may be poised to have an even greater impact. Although 27% of households say they have a streaming-capable HDTV, just one fifth (5% of all households) are using it to view streaming TV or movie content on a weekly basis.
Videogame consoles represent another largely untapped source of access; while 47% of TV households have streaming-ready 7G game systems, only 9% -- again, roughly one fifth -- are using them weekly for streaming.

The GfK report shows dramatic differences in streaming video use among different generations. While almost two thirds (62%) of Generation Y consumers (ages 13 to 33) watch streaming TV or movies weekly, the figure drops to 46% for Generation X (ages 34 to 47), and to 30% for Boomers (ages 48 to 54).

“The synergies between consumers and their connected devices are radically transforming video entertainment,” says David Tice, senior vice president of GfK’s Media and Entertainment team. Streaming video is giving consumers more and more control over their viewing -- and forcing content providers to reinvent their business models. As broadband connections and mobile devices continue to improve, this trend is bound to accelerate, creating a host of opportunities for those who can think ahead of the next technology.”

For the new study, 1,065 persons (ages 13 to 54) were screened about their television viewership. Full surveys were completed with 1,007 qualified respondents who reported any video consumption in a typical week. The research was conducted in June 2013.


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