For the first time ever, the percentage of free or paid streaming video subscribers in the US (68%) has caught up to the number of paid TV subscribers (67%), according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
The new study, The Changing Landscape for Video and Content, also shows the time consumers spend watching video content on TVs (51% in 2016, down 11 points since 2012) is now equaled by – within the sampling margin of error – time spent watching video content on all other consumer technology devices (49 percent) including laptops, tablets and smartphones.
“More and more consumers are embracing the freedom of connectivity – in this case, the anytime/anywhere access to video content,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA.
“This is one of the driving trends of our time. Today’s advancement of technology delivers ‘content convenience’ that results in cultural changes such as binge watching, second screen behavior, content recommendations and the screens consumers use to consume video. And we expect streaming subscribers to surpass paid TV services – and by a fair margin – in the next year or so.”
The growing diversity of content sources and consumer viewing devices helped raise consumers’ average video consumption. On average, the amount of video that consumers watch per week is increasing considerably – up 32% since 2001 (16.8 hours a week in 2016, from 12.7 hours in 2011) – or 3.2 hours a day.
Most consumers still learn about new content through traditional methods such as commercials on TV (56%), word-of-mouth (54%) and internet search (32%). Yet roughly one in five cite nontraditional mediums such as streaming service recommendations (23%), social media (21%) or radio, TV or podcast host recommendations (16%) as content discovery sources.
Even with the largest ownership rates (96% of American households own TVs) and high density (2.8 TVs per household) according to other CTA projections, 4K Ultra HD TVs are among the tech industry’s fastest growing segments. Significantly outpacing the transition to high-definition television, CTA projects shipments of 4K UHD displays to reach 15 million units in 2017 (51 percent increase) and earn $14.6 billion in revenue (38% increase). Sales of all TVs are expected to reach $19 billion in revenue in 2017, on par with last year.