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Comscore Household Reach Pay TV v OTT July2020US households are viewing more OTT content than ever before. Some 69.8 million US homes now have at least one OTT device, such that two-thirds (68%) of homes with WiFi are OTT homes. This is per the latest State of OTT report [download page] from Comscore, which also found that the average time spent viewing OTT content per month has grown by 17 hours year-over-year to reach an average of 102 hours.

April 2020 figures show that the number of OTT households rose by 9.5% year-over-year (y-o-y). Part of this growth can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and viewers spending more time with video, but a wider trend is apparent: even when excluding data from March 2020 when many cities in the US started asking people to stay home, the y-o-y growth reached 7.8%.

Streaming boxes or sticks such as Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick are used by 42.2 million OTT households (up 15% y-o-y) and remain the most popular form of OTT device. However, Smart TV use experienced the most growth. Indeed, some 37.2 million OTT households used a Smart TV in April 2020, an increase of 22% y-o-y.

Time Spent Viewing on Pay-TV and OTT Increases

Although live or pay-TV remains the dominant form of viewing in US households, its reach has decreased slightly in the past year. Between the months of February and April 2020, an average of 107.8 million households viewed live-TV per month, compared to 109 million households per month during the same period in 2019.

At the same time, more American households are spending time viewing content on OTT devices and video-on-demand (VOD). An average of 70.2 million households per month viewed content via OTT during the February-April timeframe (up from 64 million in 2019). Likewise, an average of 28.3 million households viewed content via VOD per month, up from the same period last year (26.4 million households).

That’s not to say that Americans are necessarily spending less time viewing content on live-TV. Indeed, across all platforms, Americans have increased their total viewing time by 2.3 billion hours since 2019. This includes live-TV, where viewers spent 26.7 billion hours viewing content (up from 25.9 billion hours in 2019). This translates to about 274 hours per month per household.

OTT also contributed to the overall increase, with Americans spending some 6.8 billion hours with OTT content (up from 5.4 billion hours in 2019) and an average of 97 hours per household per month. VOD also increased from 359.1 million hours in 2019 to 456.5 million hours in 2020.

Other Highlights

Here are a few other OTT highlights from the report:

  • While almost 6 in 10 (58%) OTT households also subscribe to pay-TV, that number has decreased from last year.
  • The same percentage (21%) of OTT households have either cut the cord within the past 5 years or have not subscribed to pay-tv at all in the past 5 years (also 21%).
  • Per the report, only the Big 5 apps (Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video, Hulu and Disney+) reach more than 1 in 4 OTT streaming households;
  • By comparison, 40 apps have a reach of 2% or less of OTT streaming households, with many of these apps being more targeted or specialized services.

To read more, the report can be found here.

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