Half of OTT Video Streamers Account for 90% of Viewing Time

May 18, 2018

Close to two-thirds (63%) of US households with Wi-Fi streamed video content on OTT devices in February 2018, reports comScore, a figure that aligns with Nielsen data showing that 59% of all US homes had an internet-enabled device capable of streaming content to the TV in November 2017. The analysis from comScore indicates that there’s a substantial difference in viewing behavior between heavy and light OTT streamers.

[In this case, video streamed to OTT devices uses the IAB definition of “a device that can connect to a TV (or functionality within the TV itself) to facilitate the delivery of Internet based video content (Roku, Apple TV, Smart TV’s, game consoles, etc.).”]

Dividing the streaming population up into light (50%) and heavy (50%) streamers, comScore demonstrates that:

  • Heavy OTT streamers accounted for 90% of all streaming time in February, at an average of 90 hours for the month; while
  • Light OTT streamers comprised just 10% of the streaming time, averaging just 9.5 hours for the month.

In other words, heavy streamers spent about 10 times longer per day (more than 3 hours) watching OTT content than light streamers (20 minutes per day).

Pay-TV Status May Explain Viewing Differences

Two-thirds of OTT streamers had a pay-TV service as of February, while 18% were cord-cutters and 14% counted as cord-nevers.

Light OTT streamers were considerably more likely than heavy OTT streamers to have a pay-TV service (76% and 59%, respectively), while being about half as likely to be cord-cutters (12% and 23%, respectively).

As such, it’s likely that light OTT streamers are spending less time with OTT as they split their time with traditional TV. Cord-stacking (having both a pay-TV service and a streaming service) is an increasingly popular option, and it’s worth noting that people with both services are heavier video content viewers overall than cord-cutters.

3 in 4 Young Households Stream Video

Not too surprisingly, there’s a strong age-related component to OTT streaming activity. Fully 77% of households headed by someone in the 18-34 age bracket stream OTT content, a figure that falls to just 43% of households headed by someone aged 65 or older.

The distribution of streaming behavior also differs by householder age. Among streaming households headed by an 18-34-year-old, 60% are heavy streamers. By contrast, only a minority of streaming households headed by someone aged 45 or older are heavy streamers.

While comScore notes that demographic segmentation can help in targeting hard-to-reach OTT audiences, “not every millennial is an OTT streamer and not every OTT streamer is a millennial.”

For more information on the demographic breakdown of TV and online TV program viewers, see MarketingCharts’ “US Media Audience Demographics” report. A separate study, “The State of Traditional TV Viewing,” examines TV viewing trends across age and other demographic groups.

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