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Over Half of Americans Have Watched TV Via Streaming
11/13/2012

NEW YORK– A Harris Interactive online poll of 2,343 American adults surveyed between Oct. 10 and 15 indicates that streaming of TV programming is becoming an increasing popular way for Americans to consume television content.

Over half indicate having watched digitally-streamed TV programming, and streaming is on its way to becoming a primary means of viewership among 18-35 year olds, nearly tying top-ranked live feed TV among the ways that demographic most often watches TV.

Despite U.S. adults seeing streaming as a viable viewing option, TV screens are far from endangered: when asked to select the way or ways in which they most often watch television programs, 89 percent of Americans say tradition TV sets.

Approximately 56 percent identify a live feed as the way, or one of the ways, they most often watch TV, but 32 percent also specify watching recorded or on-demand (29 percent) programming.

A combined 30 percent of Americans have the ability to watch streamed programming on their TV sets (19 percent via set top boxes or game systems, 17 percent via Internet-compatible TV sets), and two in ten list streaming as among the ways they most often watch TV.

Growth is also expected in this segment:  two in ten Americans indicate that they are watching more online/streaming content now than a year ago, and that that they expect to be watching more a year from now. Among those not watching more, 59 percent indicate that there are factors which could encourage them to watch more streaming programming; including improved free streaming options, access to programming they currently cannot (or don't think they can) get via streaming, not having to watch on a computer screen, access to a sufficiently fast connection and ease of access.

Households with children appear to be an especially strong market for TV streaming. They are more likely to own streaming-compatible devices, such as smartphones, TVs with Internet access and tablets. Such households are also more likely to have ever streamed TV programs, report watching more or the same amount of online or streaming TV content than a year ago; and anticipate watching more online/streaming TV content a year from now.

Most Americans also multitask as they watch TV; 81 percent report doing other things while watching TV, such as online activities, reading a book, magazine, newspaper or an electronic reading device, texting or doing other things.

Advertisers must now also consider how viewers will be watching, on what device and when.

“This adds challenges to digital media planners and agencies needing to capture and engage audiences,” explains Harris Interactive Media Practice Vice President Rhona Wulf.  With the 35-and-under age group showing particularly strong streaming and multi-screening tendencies, along with those in households with children, “those looking to speak to these markets are under particular pressure to establish multi-platform approaches.”

“The providers who can most effectively speak to the impediments holding up streaming viewership (ease of use, lack of desired programming, etc.) will have a significant advantage in the emerging battle for streaming dominance,” Wulf said.

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