Roku: Pandemic, Cord-Cutting Driving Streaming Video Consumption

Increased streaming video access to live sports and new-release movies in the COVID era is accelerating over-the-top video consumption in consumer homes, according to new data from Roku.

Citing a survey of 2,852 respondents (ages 18 to 70) in the United States, who watch at least five hours of TV per week via traditional pay-TV (i.e. cable, satellite or telecom service) or a streaming service, Roku found that the ease-of-use, cost-savings, and content quality of TV streaming was shown to have extremely broad, intergenerational appeal among American consumers.

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Roku said 25% of respondents call themselves cord-cutters, and on average pay less than half monthly what traditional pay-TV subscribers do for video content: $49 vs. $121. But cutting the cord doesn’t mean watching less. On average, Roku found cord-cutters spend three more hours per week streaming video than traditional pay-TV viewers spend watching content: 22 hours compared with 19 hours.

Roku found that not just young people are using streaming services to stay in the loop on social media. Social currency is also a reason that baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) choose streaming: 54% chose TV streaming compared with 25% who said they would turn to traditional pay-TV.

And streaming services are continuing to expand their audiences overall. While TV streaming is nearly universal among younger generations — 98% of Gen Z (1990s to early 2010s) and 95% of millennials (1981 to 1996) — the majority of boomers are streaming too.

Among boomer respondents, 71% of whom stream, nearly 25% cut the cord in the past year — and are just as likely as younger generations to be cord cutters (25% vs. 23%). Another 51% added more streaming subscriptions; 90% said TV streaming devices are easy to use.

Not so long ago, the only way sports fans could watch live sports was on cable, or at a venue. Now 42% of respondents said they watch sports via TV streaming versus 62% who watch via traditional pay-TV.

“Amid a year of uncertainty, this survey puts data behind what we at Roku have believed since our founding in 2002: All TV will be streamed,” Anthony Wood, founder/CEO of Roku, said in a statement. “These results show that TV streaming has passed a tipping point. Even more exciting, it’s bringing more people together, starting new conversations, and giving viewers of every generation more of the content they love, while also making it more accessible. TV streaming is here to stay.”

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