New surveys analyze TV trends

Viewers who stream TV and movies from the Internet to their TVs are actually watching the same amount or more of regularly scheduled TV than they were before, according to a new study that was conducted by Nielsen for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM). The study also found that few of these viewers are planning to cut the cord and get rid of their multichannel TV provider.

The study found that 84 percent of those who watch video from the Internet on their television sets were watching the same amount or more of regularly scheduled TV as they were before they started streaming video. Moreover, 92 percent of those viewers subscribe to a pay-TV service and only 3 percent reported that they were planning to give up their cable subscriptions.

In another survey, the amount of time spent watching TV shows and other content online has grown 40 percent since October 2009. This is according to data in the most recent comScore Video Metrix. The analytics firm said that 175 million U.S.-based Internet users watched an average of 15.1 hours of video online last month, compared with an average of 10.8 hours watched by 167 million in October 2009.

That means U.S. Internet users who frequent video sites now watch an average of 30 minutes of online video a day. As a frame of reference, recent Nielsen data shows U.S. households watch about five hours of TV a day.

Another study found that paid-for television content — whether through cable, satellite or the Internet — is preferred over free-to-air services, even in markets where free programming is more readily available. This is according to global research from Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Motorola.

While free-to-air services are available to 67 percent of global viewers, compared to 57 percent for paid-for services, the most preferred TV services are subscription only.

The research also shows that social media is changing viewing experiences. Forty-two percent of viewers globally have had an e-mail conversation, engaged in an instant message chat or used a social network to discuss a program or video while they were watching it. Of this group, 22 percent said that social-media multitasking is a regular part of their viewing experience, and 61 percent would be prepared to pay more for a service that offered these capabilities.

The future looks bright for HDTV products and services worldwide. Of viewers surveyed, 75 percent either own or plan to own an HD television in the next 18 months, and 25 percent are expected to upgrade their TVs to include 3-D in the same timeframe.

“The research clearly shows a changing television landscape, one where subscription services are becoming mainstream, augmented by social activities revolving around Internet chat and networking channels,” said Bill Ogle, chief marketing officer, Motorola Mobility.