Many have known it, but now it seems official. The Council for Research Excellence (funded by Nielsen) has produced a new survey that sheds light on habits of mobile TV viewing. Although many networks and content creators in broadcast television and cable have worked hard to produce video streams via a dedicated app or their own website, the end result is just 26 percent of TV programming is coming from these avenues when it comes to mobile TV. The big winners are the new breed of networks focused completely on streaming.
Online video subscription services, such as Hulu Plus and Netflix, accounted for 64 percent of TV shows watched on smartphones and 54 percent of video content was viewed on tablets. This is a large chunk of total mobile viewership and clearly indicates that the future of dedicated streaming services is bright indeed. Dedicated apps were a tiny slice, with cable and satellite providers’ apps totaling about 11 percent of TV shows on tablets and 10 percent on smartphones.
Why the wide sweep of numbers? Traditional broadcasters are getting behind the TV-Everywhere initiative, but the anchor continues to be that you must already be a customers of the TV service to join in. So those using separate apps from cable companies, for example, already have access to the channels or content through regular TV. Netflix and Hulu have no such conditions, anyone at any time can subscribe for a low monthly fee. Hulu in particular provides access to many network TV programming and you (currently) don’t need to verify you are a cable or satellite subscriber. This makes it easy for the consumer to just sign up for Hulu and start streaming their favorite shows on their Apple or Android smartphone or Google, Android, or iPad tablet.
Just about 40.9 million Americans today watch video on their mobile devices, according to Nielsen, however only 2 percecnt of all TV hours consumed are done via mobile devices. So there is still some room for mobile to expand. Although it seems to be a safe bet to see that Hulu and Netflix have an extremely wide lead in the mobile-TV streaming base, and as both produce unique original programming, neither seems to show any signs of slowing down.