Video Streaming Device Users Still Rely on Traditional TV

May 15, 2018

In November of last year, some 65.3 million US homes (or 59% of the total population) had an internet-enabled device capable of streaming content to the TV, such as a video game console, smart TV and/or multimedia device. So says Nielsen in its latest Local Watch Report [download page], which reveals that traditional TV’s influence holds despite the proliferation of enabled streaming devices.

The report indicates that, as of November 2017, penetration of enabled streaming devices had surpassed two-thirds of homes in 5 LPM markets:

  • Los Angeles (70%);
  • Washington, DC (69%);
  • San Francisco (68%);
  • Atlanta (68%); and
  • New York (68%).

(LPM – or Local People Meter – markets are the top 25 DMAs measured by an electronic people meters.)

But even in those markets, streamers rely heavily on traditional TV. Looking exclusively at adults ages 25-54 who used a streaming device during November 2017 (“streamers”), Nielsen’s analysis shows that in Los Angeles, for example, almost half (48%) watched only traditional TV during an average day, while another 47% used a combination of traditional TV and their streaming device. Just 5% exclusively streamed content to their TV set in a typical day.

Those figures also don’t vary too much among the LPM markets. The percentage of “streamers” who only streamed content on a typical day ranged from a low of 4% (in Chicago and Charlotte) to a high of just 12% (in Minneapolis, Orlando and Portland).

Overall, fully 93% of “streamers” across the top 25 LPM markets were reached by traditional cable or broadcast programming during November, with these “streamers” almost evenly split between those watching only TV (47%) and those using a combination of traditional TV and a streaming device (46%).

The results suggest that while there have been significant declines in traditional TV viewing, people tend to be engaging in cord-stacking (watching both traditional TV and digital video) as opposed to just replacing their traditional TV viewing entirely with streaming options.

Other Study Highlights

  • About half (51%) of “streamers” typically watch local news.
  • Of the top 25 LPM markets, adults ages 25-54 watch the most traditional TV in Detroit (5 hours per day), Philadelphia (4 hours and 57 minutes) and Charlotte (4 hours and 57 minutes).
  • Of the top 25 LPM markets, Pittsburgh has the lowest penetration of enabled streaming devices, at 55%.
  • Some 44.1% of streaming device households are headed by adults ages 35-54, and 35.9% by adults ages 55 and older.
  • Streaming device households are 32% more likely than average to have children.
  • These households skew higher-income, with 30% having income of at least $100k.
  • Streaming device households have above-average Hispanic and Asian representation and below-average Black representation.

For more on traditional TV trends, see MarketingCharts’ in-depth study, The State of Traditional TV Viewing.

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