GfK: Streaming Video is Not a Solo Sport

While more and more Americans are watching video content — TV shows, movies, and short video — on their smartphones, new data from GfK MRI shows that video remains a highly social medium.

The latest findings show that Americans watch TV or video in groups almost half (48%) of their total viewing time. In addition, 49% of all adults — and 60% in the 18-to-34 age group — report that they are “co-viewing” more often now than they did three years ago.

Over half (58%) of co-viewing time is spent watching with a “significant other,” while children account for 19%; adult family members, 16%; and friends, 9%.

Preferred genres for watching with others change depending on who else is in the room; while movies come in first or second in all four co-viewing situations, and comedy TV Shows consistently place in the top three, sports score highest when friends are the co-viewers.

The survey also found that more than half (55%) of solo viewers are men. Parents, on the other hand, are more likely to be co-viewers; three-quarters (77%) of parental co-viewers have children under the age of 11 in the home, while one-quarter (23%) have children ages 12 to 17.

The data — based on 24,000 in-person, in-home interviews — underscores that co-viewing streaming video is not a platform-driven behavior.

MRI found that, when asked which types of TV services they use most often when co-viewing, respondents were equally likely to say they co-view via traditional TV services (48% — cable, satellite, fiber optic service) and streaming services (52% — Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.). Not surprisingly, younger adults (ages 18-34) are more likely than average to choose streaming as their medium of co-viewing (72%, 137)

“The social nature of TV viewing continues to drive people to this enjoyable shared experience,” Amy Hunt, VP of TVideo media sales at MRI, said in a statement. “A lot has been said recently about the introduction of dynamically inserted ads for shows; but this seems to be predicated on the idea of only one target watching. The increase of co-viewing suggests that more ad options will need to be available, to appeal to the widest possible audience range.”