Online Streaming Services Are Becoming a Threat to Broadcast Television

More than half of consumers consider their TV a monitor on the wall and would cancel their cable subscription if an online provider could satisfy their viewing needs.


Online video is threatening to destabilize broadcast television, especially with the rise of services like Netflix. But just how many consumers would be willing to cut the cord, if their needs were met? Adroit Digital, a data-driven marketing agency, conducted a study of 2,000 video consumers to answer this, among other questions.

Of those surveyed, 63 percent would eliminate their cable subscriptions if an online provider could satisfy their viewing needs. Sixty-six percent of those ages 18 to 24 would do so, and even 51 percent of those aged 45+ would cut the cord. One of the services mentioned in the study was Aereo, but its future is looking grim given the recent Supreme Court decision that ruled its business model illegal. However, a lot of broadcast content makes its way to Netflix, and Hulu is a partnership between networks to stream content.

When it comes to how viewers divide their time, YouTube is even beating broadcast TV. Nearly 70 percent all viewers surveyed are getting their video content from YouTube, with 51 percent still viewing live television. Netflix is just barely behind TV with 49 percent, and it is vastly more popular than DVR, which is a source of content for only 30 percent of people.

With this move toward online streaming, it would be easy to assume users hated all ads. But that’s not the case: 51 percent will watch a program in its entirety, including commercials when the show was recorded or on-demand.

Online viewers have a low tolerance for longer ads though. Only 6 percent of respondents wanted a commercial longer than one minute, and 46 percent would prefer the commercial be less than 15 seconds in length. When given the opportunity to skip an online ad, 56 percent will skip it, and only 20 percent never skip. The remaining 24 percent would decide when presented with the ad.

Streaming services are not far from replacing broadcast TV as the primary method of video viewing. Perhaps the most telling statistic of all is that 59 percent of respondents saw their TV as a big monitor on their wall.

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