‘Alternative Video’ Gaining Ground on Traditional TV Programming - TvTechnology
Market research firm examines how alternative content is threatening pay TV

DALLAS—On the same day that the Emmy Awards announce their nominations for the 2018 season, a new report suggests that an increasing number of viewers are watching “alternative content” on Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and other video websites, and that such habits constitute another of the numerous threats to traditional pay TV.

In its report, “360 Deep Dive: Alternative Content Consumption,” Parks Associates defines “alternative content” as user-generated video, livestreaming, short-form videos and web vide series that are available via social networking, video sharing or similar apps or sites. On average, U.S. broadband households watch two hours of alternative content on a computer each week and nearly one-half of U.S. broadband households watch user-generated content on a monthly basis, with more than 10 percent watching livestreamed content.

[Read: Younger Viewers Gravitating To OTT TV Services: Study]

"Alternative video is an important part of the video landscape, and it competes with other video options for a share of consumer attention," said Brett Sappington, senior director of research, Parks Associates. "Approximately one-half of households with a TV watch video from YouTube and similar sites on their TV set. In fact, more households watch online video from an app such as YouTube than watch video from a TV channel app."

Parks Associates data about alternative content consumption shows that adoption of pay TV declines as the frequency of user-generated content consumption increases. This correlation poses a future threat to pay-TV providers as younger respondents are far more likely to watch user-generated content, which could potentially impact their future pay-TV habits and perspectives according to the research firm.

"Younger consumers are far more likely to create their own content as well as watch user-generated content," Sappington said. "For these viewers, the creation of content is as much a part of the entertainment experience as is watching video. Increasingly, traditional content producers and service providers are leveraging alternative content in order to connect with audiences and draw viewers. Some are partnering with individual web celebrities and influencers who often have a disproportionately large influence on the user-generated side of the alternative content space."

Additional data from the research reveals:

  • At present, only 7% of U.S. broadband households watch sporting events via livestream.
  • Consumers who view user-generated content are much more likely than those who never watch it to have an OTT service.
  • Almost one-quarter of broadband households have posted videos to some type of content site or app within the last 30 days.
  • Alternative content compromises more than two hours of online video watched weekly on a computer.