Nielsen: 56% of U.S. TV Consumers Stream Video

It’s official: The majority of American TV consumers also stream video.

New data from Nielsen found that 56% of domestic consumers stream video compared to 48% in 2018 and 40% in 2017.

The average consumer watches more than two hours of streamed content daily, which is up from slightly less than two hours last year.

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At the same time, linear TV consumption remains most popular among 82% of streamers — with almost 90% still watching pay-TV networks.

Nielsen found that 65% of U.S. households can now stream video compared to 59% in 2018 and 51% in 2017.

Among U.S. cities, Austin, Texas has the highest percentage (70%) of streaming users, while Pittsburgh, Pa., has the lowest at 45%. Cleveland residents spent the most time streaming video at two hours and 29 minutes per day.

Nielsen: Media Choice Abounds, But Many Americans Stay With What They Know

NEWS ANALYSIS: One of the biggest challenges facing media consumers today is finding something to watch or listen to. Can that be right? After all, we live in a time where thousands of content choices are merely a click or swipe away.

As hard as it is to fathom, it’s not uncommon for scenarios of indecision to play out, but that’s because we spend quite a bit of time checking out previews, trailers, teasers, schedules and listings, yet struggle to land on something that actually engages us.

But this isn’t just tragic for consumers. It has just as much of a negative effect on content creators, programmers, platforms and marketers. After all, if their efforts fail, consumers spend more time searching and less time consuming.

So with so much choice available, how are modern consumers navigating the “paradox of choice” and deciding what to watch? Are they embracing subscription and on-demand services, or relying on traditional means like live scheduled programs and DVR?

Surprisingly, findings from the first-quarter Nielsen Total Audience Report suggest that it might be the latter, as streaming users tend to gravitate back toward their traditional TV preferences when they’re not sure what to watch. Still, seven in 10 homes have a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service and 72% use streaming-capable TV devices, putting the onus on streaming services to keep users engaged with the content on their increasingly accessible platforms.

When we look at video streamers, Americans are pretty focused. Notably, our MediaTech Trender survey found that on all of the occasions they stream TV or video, almost two-thirds of adults who stream video content are likely to watch when know exactly what they want. One-third will watch when they have a rough idea, and only 22% watch when they don’t know what they want before diving into the options.

For those who are still on the fence about what to watch, it gets a bit tricky when looking at how they make their choices.

 

The interesting thing about video streamers is that they’re frequent “go-backers.” Said differently, they like what they know and are comfortable with. In fact, 58% say they go back to their favorite traditional channels, 44% like to scan through traditional channel options, 39% scan the program listings and 31% browse their DVR recordings.

Comparatively, far fewer SVOD users scan their subscription content menus. That means SVOD content creators, programmers, platforms and marketers have some work to do in terms of giving viewers what they’re looking for. The data shows it. Only one-third of adult respondents say they browse their SVOD content menus for more content, while 21% say they would simply not watch anymore content altogether.

The Curious Case of the Core Demo

So which group is most susceptible to indecision? The group that marketers cover the most: the 18-49-year-olds.

Comparatively, younger adults are more likely to explore. They’ll flip through menus, check out programs that have been recommended for them and step outside their traditional content comfort zones. But they also tend to rely on another “extreme” route, as they reported to tune out all together at higher levels compared to other demos.

So how long do people dwell on their content options? On average, a notable 9.4 minutes was reported for adults 18-34 and 8.4 minutes for adults 35-49 who stream. Think about how much more engagement content providers and platforms could achieve if they took out the guesswork. And if they did that, they’d have better retention rates. That’s because nearly 30% of streaming adults 18-49 said they sometimes stop watching content if they can’t find something appealing.

Being inundated by choice is not particularly new to the world of content. Traditional television has faced similar issues for decades. But for the new players in the game, refining recommendations and creating menus and user experiences to better suit user tastes might be their best way to combat it.

Nielsen: Out-of-Home Viewership Boosting Linear TV News Consumption

Despite living in an over-the-top video ecosystem, linear TV remains a primary source of news for young U.S. adults — even outside the home (OOH), according to Nielsen.

News viewing OOH attracts both men and women adults equally across the general population. Notably, Nielsen found that more women (56%) 18-24 watch news remotely than men (43%).

Survey respondents said restaurants and bars are among the most popular places to view news. And this pattern continues among general population respondents aged 25-34 and 35-plus as 59% and 52%, respectively, reported viewing in a restaurant or bar.

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Meanwhile, 61% of younger adults aged 18-24 reported viewing in someone else’s home, while 43% reported watching in a restaurant or bar followed by 40% who reported watching at work and 39% at the gym.

The viewing habits among young adults support the common perception that they like to view content in social environments and in a variety of places.

“While most of us would consider watching the news at a bar, someone else’s home or even at the gym as doing so during our own time, our survey results found that viewers seek out the news at other times too. In fact, they’re going out of their way to catch the latest headline—even during work hours,” read the report.

According to the survey, 40% of the general population respondents age 18-24 reported watching the news while at work. Although the Internet has given consumers the opportunity to get their news on the go, that’s not their only source. Viewers are turning to linear TV out of their homes to catch a glimpse of the news ticker or get the latest weather report before they leave the office.

As more consumers, particularly young adults, take control of how, where and when to watch content, Nielsen contends OOH live news viewing presents advertisers with a great opportunity to be effective with their message and connect with a consumer segment that’s younger and educated.

Return of Rabbit Ears? Over-the-Air Antennae Makes Comeback

When the federal government in 2009 mandated broadcast television switch from analog transmission to digital, conventional wisdom assumed the end of over-the-air TV signals.

New data from Nielsen would argue otherwise.

Nearly a decade after the switch, there are 16 million households employing a digital antennae. That’s up 50% from 5 million homes in 2010.

“And as an increasing number of consumers consider a more à-la-carte approach to their TV sources, there is opportunity for [OTA] to continue growing,” Nielsen wrote in a Feb. 13 blog post.

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While 41% of OTA homes do not use an over-the-top video service such as Netflix, the majority do. Indeed, 8% (1.3 million) of OTA households subscribe to online TV services such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV.

Nielsen found TV consumption highest among households without streaming video — a whopping 4.5 hours daily!

This market segment also spent 16 minutes daily watching DVD/Blu-ray Disc content; 15 minutes on “other” TV; 13 minutes on an Internet-connected device; and six minutes playing video games or consuming cable TV.

Notably, consumption of packaged media (DVD/Blu-ray Disc) content fell to seven minutes daily among OTA homes with SVOD and three minutes among homes with both SVOD and online TV.

Nielsen attributed higher fragmentation for TV consumption driven by Internet-connected device usage – despite the fact SVOD homes with and without a online TV still consume more than 60 minutes of broadcast TV daily. Cable TV consumption increased with online TV access, but still lagged behind broadcast viewing.

“Regardless of OTA home type, broadcast TV [remains] a daily go-to source for content on the TV screen,” wrote Nielsen.

 

Analyst: ‘Bird Box’ Viewership Suggests Strong Q4 Netflix Sub Growth

Netflix’s fiscal fortunes on Wall Street largely revolve around meeting or exceeding subscriber growth projections. The more subs added, the less attention investors put on the streaming video pioneer’s ballooning content spend.

Netflix is estimating it added 9.4 million new subscribers worldwide in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018), including 1.5 million in the United States.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter contends Netflix will meet or exceed those numbers (perhaps gaining 1.7 million domestic sub additions) due to the global streaming success of original movie Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock.

The post-apocalyptic thriller was streamed by 45 million households during its first week of release last month, according to Netflix. Nielsen said 26 million households streamed the movie in the United States.

Pachter, in a Jan. 14 note, said the sub data meant that about 40% of domestic subscribers and 20% of international subs streamed the movie, suggesting that a larger than normal number of subscribers were active at quarter end.

“We think that the unusually high activity depressed churn [subs not renewing membership], leading to upside to both domestic and international subscriber additions, and we think that our above consensus Q4 subscriber estimates may prove to be conservative,” Pachter wrote. “We expect Netflix to highlight the success of Bird Box as a subscriber driver on its [fiscal] call.”

At the same time, Pachter believes Bird Box was an anomaly. He said comparing the 45 million viewers to the opening weekend of a major theatrical release is misleading. He said that the nature of Netflix’s business model puts no additional cost on subscribers consuming content – making it far more analogous to the consumption of television programming, which also is subsumed by a subscription.

“While Bird Box definitely demonstrates the power of the Netflix platform to drive viewership of its originals, it will not necessarily lead to the long-term retention of subscribers,” wrote Pachter.

Netflix reports Q4 results at the market close on Jan. 17.

 

Nielsen: 26 Million U.S. Netflix Subs Streamed ‘Bird Box’ During First Week

Nielsen has revealed that more than 26 million Netflix subscribers in the United States streamed original movie Bird Box during the its first week of release in December.

The data supports Netflix’s recent revelation that more than 45 million subs worldwide streamed the post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock as a single mother trying to safeguard her children against a mysterious force that makes people kill themselves after viewing it.

Netflix, per policy, does not disclose viewership data for original programming.

Notably, Bird Box was watched by fewer subscribers (3.5 million) on the first day (Dec. 21) of release than Netflix’s sci-fi thriller, Bright (5.4 million), starring Will Smith, which was released Dec. 13, 2017.

Bird Box, however, began to build subscriber momentum over the next days while Bright viewership declined. In addition, Netflix gave Box a very limited theatrical run in an attempt to comply with industry awards rules.

 

 

Nielsen: Physical, Digital Acquisitions Strong in Streaming Video Age

It may be an over-the-top video market, but consumers apparently still like to buy movies and TV shows on disc and digital formats, according to Nielsen.

In its “Video 360” report, Nielsen found that 51% of the general population bought long-form physical video in the past year, compared to 48% in 2016. Digital download purchases grew from 35% in 2016 to 42% in 2018.

Nielsen said a significant factor among consumers acquiring long-form video is the desire to build a collection, in either physical or digital format. In 2016 only 23% cited collection building as an important factor in their purchase decisions, compared to 30% who said so this year.

Notably, family franchise movies appear to be the most desired digital titles (68%) for purchase, followed by superhero franchises (52%). In packaged media (DVD, Blu-ray Disc), 78% of purchases targeted family franchise titles, followed by superhero titles (62%).

Nielsen found that 25% of home entertainment viewers downloaded or streamed a movie before it was available on DVD or Blu-ray disc. About the same leveraged online platforms to watch movies that were released while still being shown in theaters.

Once again, franchise family movie fans (47%) outpaced superhero franchise fans (33%) and the general population (25%) in consuming video content in this manner. Notably, nearly twice as many family franchise fans as the general population, said they’d downloaded or streamed content before it became available on disc.

 

DVD/Blu-ray Disc Player Ownership Continues to Decline

DVD/Blu-ray Disc player use remains in decline, with household penetration dropping to 67% in the first quarter of 2018 from 73% at the end of 2017, according to new data from Nielsen.

The drop underscores ongoing changes in consumer home entertainment behavior as fewer people watch, purchase and rent packaged media. Indeed, DVD players could be found in nearly 90% of U.S. households in 2008, despite the fact overall unit sales of DVD players actually declined 25% in the first half of that year, according to The NPD Group.

Among the coveted 18-34-year-old demo in 2018, DVD/Blu-ray player ownership has shrunk to 57.8%, compared to 69% among 30-49-year-olds and 58.6% among 50-64-year-olds, according to Statista.com.

Nielsen contends the average time an adult spent per day using a DVD/Blu-ray player was six minutes in Q1. That compared to 14 minutes with a video game console and 26 minutes with an Internet-connected device.

By comparison, live-TV viewing topped four hours daily, followed by the smart phone (2 hours, 22 minutes) and radio (1:46 hours).

Nine out of 10 U.S. adults use linear platforms in the average week. Live + time-shifted TV viewing reached 88% of persons in the first quarter of 2018, while radio had the largest reach across platforms at 92%.

A silver lining in the trends is that most Blu-ray players are connected to the Internet, thereby enabling access to over-the-top video and subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Indeed, Nielsen found that many households have access to more than one of the aforementioned SVOD services. Across the total U.S., 27% of TV households have access to only one service and 37% to more than one service. Eleven percent have access to all three.

Meanwhile, Nielsen reported that DVR penetration, which only a few years ago was rapidly expanding in U.S. homes, has seen its growth slow but is still present in 55% of TV households. Newer media, such as Internet connected devices and smart TVs, that enable streaming of content to the TV set, are showing strong year-over-year increases. Both device types are now in 37% and 38% of TV households, respectively.

Nielsen’s Gracenote Bows New Mobile Video Analytics Measurement Solution

Gracenote, a Nielsen company, Aug. 16 announced its Mobile Video Analytics Solution aimed at providing visibility into the quality and performance of mobile video streaming applications.

The analytics solution will provide mobile operators, MVPDs, video streaming services and hardware manufacturers a means to better understand how mobile app performance impacts user behavior and attitudes as well as engagement with their platforms and those of their competitors, according to a company press release.

The solution provides insights into how users interact and engage with mobile video streaming services, according to the release. It reports key performance metrics by wireless/internet service provider and content type, among other measures, to assist in product development and marketing as well as user performance and pricing.

The Mobile Video Analytics Solution focuses on three primary performance categories: consumer experience, offering insight into video resolution, start-up times and buffering; consumer engagement, finding out how, when and where viewers tune-in, average viewing time, as well as payload, stickiness, network access and speed; and consumer attitudes, looking into reasons mobile users choose to subscribe to or disengage from specific streaming services, including their intention to switch and feedback on pricing.

With the new analytics, streaming video services can learn how performance impacts engagement on their platforms compared to those of their competitors, according to the release.  Gracenote can use passive video tests and survey responses to map user behavior and identify the cause of disengagement and churn, according to the company. Gracenote also can help wireless providers detect areas of network congestion and determine whether they need to add capacity to improve the user experience.

“Nielsen has been at the forefront of measuring television and digital video content for decades and the new Gracenote Mobile Video Analytics solution extends our market-leadership position in the mobile streaming space,” said Mike Greenawald, SVP, connectivity, for Gracenote in a statement.  “In a hotly-contested marketplace for subscribers, it is critical to understand the factors that drive engagement and retention. Gracenote Mobile Video Analytics identifies the key video performance factors that enable our customers to gain a competitive edge and make more informed business decisions.”

Mobile Video Analytics solution uses a combination of proprietary video quality and performance testing with real-time usage data from thousands of mobile consumers in over 125 national markets, according to the release.

Hulu to Offer Ad-Supported Content Downloads

Hulu May 2 announced it is making available select content for download, enabling subscribers the ability to watch content when offline. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have featured offline viewing since 2016.

Hulu’s offline viewing will be ad-supported, which it said offers marketers an alternative opportunity to reach consumers. Netflix and Prime Video are ad-free.

“Our launch of the industry’s first ad-supported downloadable content experience is yet another example of how Hulu is innovating viewer-first ad solutions to drive powerful results for brands” Peter Naylor, SVP of advertising sales at Hulu, said in the presentation at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York. “With downloadable content, we’re offering brands more ways to connect with engaged viewers who love the experience of watching television, wherever they may be.”

Hulu also disclosed that Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) for OTT is now its go-to media measurement tool. Advertisers can use DAR to measure, guarantee and report campaign audience delivery across all desktop, mobile and connected devices, providing vital insight into viewership on the platform. With 78% of Hulu viewing taking place in the living room, Hulu claims DAR provides accurate, holistic measurement for everyone watching.

Hulu announced it has expanded its suite of “sales effectiveness” tools with four new partnerships. It will now offer attribution across the auto and retail categories, working with IHS Markit for Polk Campaign Measurement Solutions and Nielsen Buyer Insights, respectively.

In addition, Hulu announced an expanded offering for CPG brands with the help of IRI’s attribution solution. And in partnership with Experian, Hulu will offer advertisers the ability to enhance their CRM data with Hulu’s first-party data to deliver better insight into sales growth on the platform.