Study: Traditional TV losing viewing time to online services, but all is NOT lost

The recipe for a successful – or at least a popular – over-the-top (OTT) or subscription video on-demand (SVOD) is a relatively simple one:

  • Know your audience.
  • Know what content they want to watch.
  • Make that content easily accessible.
  • Make it portable.
  • And, make sure you can recommend more content that has relevance to them.

New research from Hub Entertainment Research, shows the move to online video is accelerating, especially among younger viewers, and that despite reports to the contrary, online viewers are watching less traditional TV as they add Cloud TV time to their daily schedule.

Hub said more than three-quarters (77%) of Americans with broadband access have watched online-only video in the past six months; among 16-24 year olds, it’s nearly ubiquitous, with 88% saying they’ve watched in the same time frame.

But the study – Non-Traditional TV – goes further, reporting that 76% of viewers watch every week, and 53% of 16-24 year olds watch daily.

And, we’re not talking about toe-in-the-water viewing; the average viewer – among 16-74 year olds now watches more than 8 hours of online video a week.

It’s been popular to say that viewers are using online video to complement their traditional TV viewing, that users are simply watching more of everything. But Hub found that 37% of viewers watch less traditional TV than they did before adopting online viewing; among 18- to 34-year-old Millennials, that share is significantly higher, with nearly half (46%) watching less TV delivered over-the-air or via pay-TV.

“Online video serves up entertainment and information in ways that directly address viewers’ needs,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and one of the authors of the study. “And in three areas in particular, consumers feel online video does a better job than traditional TV: Shorter formats, more inventive treatments, and genres that are micro-targeted to match interests.”

Online video’s advantages have always included ease of access and portability, something consumers consider table stakes for a video service.

Survey respondents also said 57% of their online viewing is unplanned, with them willing to stop whatever else they’re doing to watch a video pushed to them.

That nugget underlines just how much of an opportunity OTT providers have to take audience share and create loyal users by understanding their content likes and dislikes and having the ability to recommend relevant content to users. Using analytics to help create a personalized viewing experience is crucial to any content service. It helps create an engaged viewer, reduce churn and increase revenue potential.

The survey also found opportunity for traditional media operators: Mimic the best of online video.

The recipe?

  • Know your audience.
  • Know what content they want to watch.
  • Make that content easily accessible.
  • Make it portable.
  • And, make sure you can recommend more content that has relevance to them.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn