Dual-Service Users Spending Far More Time With Live TV Than OTT

Some interesting data from comScore courtesy of its latest US Cross-Platform Future in Focus report [download page]. Among households with both traditional TV and OTT, the former rules the roost in terms of time spent, suggesting that OTT continues to act more as supplemental viewing than the main stage.

In fact, in December 2016, for every hour these households spent watching OTT, they spent almost 5-and-a-half hours with live TV.

The primacy of traditional TV for dual-service households holds true regardless of the status of OTT viewer. That’s to say, even the heaviest OTT viewers (the top 20% by duration watched) spent more than twice as much time with traditional TV (69% share) than with OTT video (31% share).

IT’s intriguing data when viewed in the context of video trends. Netflix has been making waves of late: it now has almost as many subscribers as all of the top cable TV companies combined; and more TV households have access to the service than to a DVR.

Meanwhile, traditional TV viewing time continues to dip for the public as a whole, while (plunging among Millennials, who now spend more time with smartphone internet (apps + web) than with traditional TV.

In fact, when broadening the time debate to digital media (not just mobile) against live TV, even the 35-54 bracket now leans slightly towards digital, with the 55+ bracket the lone TV holdouts.

Live TV Dead? Not So Fast

One might be forgiven for thinking that most traditional TV these days is recorded and then played back. But that’s not the case.

For the full year of 2016, comScore’s data reveals that the overwhelming majority (84%) of traditional TV viewing time was spent with live TV, with DVRs accounting for 14.9% and video-on-demand a nominal 1.1%.

Recorded content is more prevalent during primetime, with the DVR occupying almost one-quarter of viewing time for primetime TV. Even so, roughly three-quarters of primetime TV was watched live last year.

Some genres tend to be watched more live than others. Not surprisingly, news and sports are the most heavily consumed as they air, with 90% of this content watched live. Drama (71%) and reality shows (75%), by contrast, have lower shares of time spent with live TV, with the DVR getting more of a workout for this content.

By far the most time-shifted content, however, is the thriller/horror show. An impressive 46% of this genre is time-shifted, with soap operas (34%) and action/adventure content (31%) also seeing a fairly high percentage of time-shifting.

For more, download the study here.