How Do Viewers Discover Video Content?

March 20, 2017

Consumers still discover new TV and video content primarily through TV ads (56%) and word-of-mouth (54%) with internet search (32%) also a popular means, according to a report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). However, consumers are also now learning about new content through alternative means, such as streaming service recommendations (23%), social media (21%) or radio, TV or podcast host recommendations (16%).

TV ads – which continue to influence more adults’ purchases than any other paid advertising medium – have been a strong promoter of TV and video content for some time. In a previous survey released in 2014, for example, TV ads emerged as one of the top ways by which consumers reported discovering new video content.

On average, people watch 3.2 hours of video a day, or about one-third more than they did in 2001, per the CTA report – though that time is likely shifting away from traditional TV to streaming services. Increased video consumption may be in part due to the improved availability and diversity of content, for which streaming services obviously play a big part.

The tide is indeed turning in favor of streaming video services, according to the report, which finds that the number of free or paid streaming video subscribers (68%) has exceeded the number of pay-TV subscribers (67%), with the growing trend of streaming subscribers outpacing paid TV service subscribers expected to continue. However, those figures are somewhat debatable: other research suggests that pay-TV penetration is higher than what was found in the CTA survey, exceeding 80% of US households even with a slow decline.

Interestingly, the time that consumers spend watching video content on TVs (51%) is now almost matched by the amount of time spent watching video content on all other devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones (49%). That’s despite larger screens generally being used more for longer-form video, with smartphone video viewing tending to be confined to “snackable” content.

About the Data: The results are based on an online survey of 1,000 US adults fielded October 21-28, 2016.

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