Is Watching YouTube the Same As Watching TV? For More Than 1 in 3 in the US, Yes.

January 28, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Television | TV Audiences & Consumption | Video

AudienceProject YouTube Same as TV Jan2021As viewers continue to diversify from traditional TV, YouTube is one of the leading alternative platforms being turned to for content. According to a study [download page] by AudienceProject, nearly 4 in 10 (36%) people in the US agree that watching content on YouTube is the same as watching TV.

Though the majority (60%) of US respondents to AudienceProject’s survey of 7,000 viewers do not consider watching content on YouTube to be the same as watching TV, the 36% that do represent the narrowing gap between the two content types. In fact, previous research from Conviva found that in 2020, more people were actually viewing YouTube on their TV screen.

The results bring to mind prior research from YouGov, in which the majority of the public agreed that original content from subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services should be considered TV shows. That came after another survey indicating that for youth, “watching TV” evoked Netflix more than it did cable and network brands.

Returning to the Audience Project report, the results indicate that about half of US viewers watched TV via connected TV boxes on a weekly basis. Meanwhile, the share of US respondents watching online video on a weekly basis grew from 84% in 2019 to 87% in 2020.

So, where else did American viewers turn for content in 2020? When it comes to streaming, Netflix remains on top, with a full 79% of respondents subscribing to the service. Notably, relative newcomer Disney+ was the third-most used subscription-based streaming service, as cited by 44% of respondents.

This isn’t the only praise for Disney+ to be found in the report, with nearly 4 in 10 (36%) subscribers claiming that the streaming service is better than expected.

Read the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 7,000 people across seven countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the US and UK) fielded in Q4 2020.


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