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GfK-Streaming-Subscription-Negative-Effect-Premium-Cable-VOD-July2013Subscription streaming service viewing may be eroding consumption of premium cable channels such as HBO and Starz, according to details from a new report released by GfK. The report asked users of Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon who previously used premium cable channel or pay-TV service video-on-demand (VOD) services if their consumption of those services had declined as a result of their subscriptions. 55% of Netflix users agreed that that they watch less premium cable as a result of their subscription; 68% of Hulu Plus and 60% of Amazon Prime users concurred.

Last year, a GfK study found most Netflix users saying that their regular TV consumption was unaffected across a variety of program types. But that survey looked more at broadcast and basic cable programs, including sitcoms and drama re-runs.

It would seem to make sense in particular for Netflix users to be watching less premium cable, as they may be starting to perceive of the service itself as a premium channel due to the success of its original programming. (It did after all just pick up 14 Emmy nominations.) Interestingly, though, GfK’s study data suggests that the most-watched shows (combined across the streaming services) are actually TV shows such as “Star Trek”, “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men”, with 4 of the top 7 programs having been previously cancelled. It may well be that streamers are turning to their services to find shows that are no longer available on VOD. What’s more, the Netflix hit “House of Cards” was only mentioned in 12 of 1,701 tracked Netflix viewing segments, although the study was fielded considerably after its “premiere.”

Separately, the study compared viewing sources for those that used a subscription streaming service (SSV) on a particular day against those that did not. Regular streamers said they watched about 40% less live TV or DVR content on days when they used their service. But VOD viewing was unaffected – in fact, it seemed to be slightly higher on days when streaming services were used. Given that streamers believe that overall they’re watching less VOD, it could be that streamers are choosing days to catch up on shows, and alternating between their streaming service and their VOD service to do so.

About the Data: Of the 502 users recruited to the GfK diary study, 437 were regular (weekly) users of Netflix Watch Instantly, 198 were regular (monthly) users of Amazon Prime Instant Video, and 143 were regular monthly users of Hulu Plus. Of these users, there is a significant amount of overlap: over three quarters of the regular Hulu Plus or Amazon users are also regular users of Netflix.

In terms of TV reception, regular users of Amazon Prime (71%) are significantly more likely than Netflix (62%) users to have cable or telco pay TV service; conversely, Netflix regular users are more likely to be broadcast-only TV homes. Four percent of all three user groups report having no TV in the home at all.

The data related to viewing segments relates to percentage of viewing segments. Respondents were asked to enter information for each individual title (program episode or movie) that they viewed. Over the course of a week, GfK recorded about 2,300 viewing segments””TV programs or movies””from about 400 viewers.

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