I am a card-carrying cord-cutter and have been for three years counting now. Broadband video is the only way I’m watching “30 Rock,” or “Parks & Recreation” or “Glee.” But praise be the Roku, the Apple TV, the Xbox, and the other connected devices that live underneath the TV set and make it possible to watch programming not hunched over the laptop all the time. Cause if you’re going to snip that cable wire, you need your broadband video served up while you’re nibbling on popcorn and kicking back on the c-o-u-c-h, right?
To be sure, Americans spend four times as many hours watching time-shifted shows on their TV sets, than they do via Internet video, as Nielsen reported last week in its latest cross-platform usage study. Even so, the ratings arbiter said nearly 48% of Americans now watch video online (or at least ‘fess up to doing so) and that Americans 18 to 34 watch about seven hours a month of video online compared to 121 on traditional TV.
I contend that as sleek as today’s silver screen laptops are, you just don’t want to watch those seven hours with a fan from a laptop whirring against your thighs. Fine, there are those laptop cushion trays, but puh-lease. If you’re going to give the Heisman to the cable man, you’ve got to funnel your Web video to that box with the cathode rays. (Your TV doesn’t still have cathode rays, does it?)
But all this cord-shaving or cord-cutting, whether you believe in it or not — an argument to which I want to shout, it’s not a religion, people — is a decidedly American phenomenon.
A flurry of recent research reports suggests that not only is online video consumption — surprise, surprise — going to continue to flourish in the United States. There are signs that connected TVs and over-the-top will thrive abroad too.
Currently, there are more than 42 million homes in the U.S. and Europe that use the Internet to watch TV programming and movies on their TV screen, according to a study by Strategy Analytics. For now, connected TV usage is twice as popular in the U.S. as in Europe with 20% of Americans watching Internet video on their TVs compared to only 10% of Europeans.
But over-the-top is poised for big global growth. Revenues from online TV and digital video, including advertising dollars and subscription fees, will hit $21.52 billion in 2016, up from $3.48 billion last year, according to consultancy Digital TV Research. Within five years, about 415 million homes in 40 countries will watch online TV and video, up from 177 million last year. By 2016, the U.S. will account for $7.7 billion in revenue, followed by Japan at $1.7 billion, then China with about $1.38 billion.
The bottom line: In five years the U.S. will contribute about one-third of global online TV and video revenues, down from about half today, as other countries add more to the pie.
Pie. I like pie. And popcorn. While watching the TV set. But just chocolate pie, please. I don’t like other kinds of pie.