They had originally forecast the milestone to take place next year. But now analysts at Insider Intelligence have revised their forecast and are predicting that US adults will spend more time watching digital video than traditional TV this year, on the back of opposing trend lines.
Per the report, time spent watching traditional TV has declined each year since 2013, with the exception of a slight bounce in 2020. However, time spent watching digital video registered double-digit growth each year between 2011 and 2021, and has continued its upward trend in the years since.
As a result, US adults’ daily traditional TV time will drop by an average of 7 minutes per day this year to 2 hours and 55 minutes, while digital video time will grow by 9 minutes to overtake it at 3 hours and 11 minutes.
This means that digital video will comprise 52.3% of combined viewing of traditional TV and digital video, the first time it has exceeded the 50% mark. Just 4 years ago, about twice as much time was spent with traditional TV as digital video.
Several factors are fueling the shift. The analysts point out that people are “spending more and more time watching video on their biggest and smallest screens,” also noting that streaming services’ rights to live sports plays a role.
A major factor, though, appears to be the decline in pay-TV penetration, which has been forecast to drop to a minority of household this year. That’s because traditional TV viewers still tend to spend more time with the medium than digital video viewers do with theirs. As such, the declining penetration of pay-TV dilutes the average overall time spent with traditional TV.
Nonetheless, streaming video viewers prefer watching content on those services than on traditional TV, such that these trends are only expected to continue. According to Insider Intelligence, YouTube and Netflix lead in average daily viewing time, at about 33 minutes per day each among US adults. (They are also in a tight race among teens.) Hulu (24 minutes per day) also contributes to the daily digital video average, followed by Amazon Prime Video (11 minutes) and Disney+ (8 minutes).
Social video is also driving digital video time, as the average amount of time that US adults spend watching video on social platforms is predicted to grow by 9.3% to 45.2 minutes this year. TikTok will account for a large chunk of that time, with its average time spent (including among non-users) set to increase by 14.2% to 17.4 minutes. In fact, Insider Intelligence predicts that TikTok will overtake Facebook next year as the most-consumed social network.
For more, check out the release here.