In Reversal, Network Content Streamers Now Say Regular TV Viewing Negatively Affected

April 17, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Television

GfK-Streaming-Effect-Regular-TV-Content-Consumption-2006-2012-Apr201334% of US internet users (and 30% of all consumers aged 13-54) surveyed in December 2012 reported having watched streaming video content that originated from a network since the beginning of September, a figure relatively on par with earlier years (32-37% between 2008 and 2011), per results from a GfK survey. What has changed over the past few years, though, is the self-reported effect of that streaming behavior. Whereas from 2006 to 2008, a greater proportion of streamers said that they watched regular TV programs more often rather than less, that net “benefit” became neutral between 2009 and 2011, before turning negative last year.

That is, while in 2008, a greater proportion said they had watched a program more often (rather than less often) on regular TV because of what they had watched via streaming network video (23% vs. 9%), last year 24% said their streaming contributes to them watching TV programs more often, while 33% said it made them watch less often.

Late last year, a GfK survey found regular Netflix viewers saying that their regular TV consumption was unaffected, although a Nielsen report offered contrasting results.

The latest findings from GfK put TV networks in a difficult place. While they don’t want to see traditional TV viewing erode, making their shows available for streaming apparently engenders goodwill among viewers. According to the survey, 42% of users of streaming or downloaded network video say that they think more highly of TV networks that make shows freely available. That percentage hasn’t moved from last year, but is up from 36% in 2009 and 2010, and 30% in 2008. What’s more, streamers are increasingly expecting those shows to be available on a device of their choice, with 34% feeling that way in 2011 and 2012, almost double the 19% in 2007.

And while traditional TV viewing may be negatively affected, streamers report a positive effect on their overall consumption of network content:

  • 27% said they watch a greater number of programs since available via streaming or download (up from 21% in 2011 and 12% in 2008;
  • 23% said they would never have watched some TV shows if they weren’t available via streaming or download, up from 22% in 2011 and 13% in 2008; and
  • 21% say they spend more time watching TV content since available via streaming or download, up from 20% last year and 12% in 2008.

About the Data: As with previous waves, the sample for the “TV’s Digital Connections” report consists of internet users age 13-54, with a total of 1,500 completed interviews. The survey was fielded from December 5 to 14, 2012; the average time to complete the survey was 15 minutes and the cooperation rate among the assigned sample was 41%.

The report is based on a quantitative survey administered to English-speaking persons from GfK’s KnowledgePanel® research panel. KnowledgePanel is unique in that it combines the capabilities of web-based interviewing with robust probability-based samples; it is representative of approximately 97%
of US households.

Each survey was conducted during a similar time (November in 2006 through 2011 and early December in 2012), and asked about usage between September 1 and the time of the survey.

(Please note an important parameter of this study: it only covers use of “official” network digital assets, or use of video that “originated from a broadcast or cable television network.” Therefore, viewing of video on YouTube or other sites that are typically predominantly user generated does not necessarily apply to the streaming content measured here, unless it is from a network program. It also does not include use of unofficial websites””such as fan sites, blogs, or other content””that are not produced by the networks. This differentiation was deliberately made in order to focus on those assets that are under the control of the networks””those that networks control, sell advertising for, and for which investment decisions must be made.)

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