Younger TV Viewers Turning to On-Demand Services

New research from Dallas-based Parks Associates finds that as live TV viewing continues to decline among U.S. broadband households, nearly 60 percent of the video viewed on a household’s main TV is on-demand content as opposed to traditional “linear” programming scheduled by broadcasters.

The trend is particularly pronounced among viewers in the 18 to 34 age group. Parks found that live sources — including pay TV, over-the-air channels, and live streaming — account for only a quarter or so of total TV viewing in this group.

“Live TV is far from dead, but on-demand sources are claiming an increasingly large portion of viewing,” said Brett Sappington, senior analyst at Parks Associates. “In addition, a larger portion of live content viewing is moving online.”

Among viewers who watch live broadcasts on a TV, 17 percent of this viewing is through an online video service with live content such as CBS All-Access, Univision Now, or PlutoTV, Sappington noted, adding that the percent of online sources jumps to 30 percent among heads of households under the age of 35 who watch live TV.

Interestingly, consumers who have never had pay TV still spend approximately one-third of their TV viewing time watching live programming, primarily from over-the-air TV channels. In terms of overall viewing, these “cord nevers” spend about half as much time watching TV as average broadband households, Sappington noted.

In other findings, the highest average consumption of traditional linear TV programming — 7.8 hours — is among married respondents. The highest average consumption of non-linear TV programming — 13.1 percent — is among viewers who are unmarried and living with a partner.