Watch TV "On Your Own Schedule"?

According to the results of The Harris Poll recently, 78% of Americans have utilized the varied technologies that enable us to watch TV shows on our own schedules. Though Americans' TV viewing habits were once at the mercy of network schedules, says the report, there are now more ways than ever to watch shows on one's own schedule, including video on demand. DVR's, and streaming content.

The top methods of delayed watching include:

  • On demand services (41% total, 34% cable, 9% satellite)
  • TiVo, DVR's or other recording devices (37%)
  • Netflix streaming services (30%)
  • Purchasing, renting or borrowing episodes or seasons on DVD (29%)
  • Hulu or Hulu Plus (22%)

Ever Watched Television Programs "On Your Own Schedule" (% of Respondents; Multiple Response OK)

Ways Of Watching on Own Schedule

Total U.S. Adults

Age

18-29

30-39

40-54

55+ 

Watch TV "On own schedule" in any way (NET)

78%

89%

90%

78%

67%

On Demand (NET)

41

47

45

41

35

"On Demand" service through a cable TV provider

34

40

38

33

29

"On Demand" service through a satellite TV provider

9

12

9

10

7

Hulu / Hulu Plus / Netflix Streaming (NET)

40

71

60

33

19

Netflix streaming content ("watch instantly")

30

60

47

24

12

Hulu or Hulu Plus

22

44

30

17

11

Tivo, DVR or other recording device (recorded and then viewed later)

37

27

46

40

36

By purchasing, renting or borrowing episodes or seasons on DVD

29

46

36

28

19

Downloading for free

17

27

24

16

10

Other pair or free streaming service (NET)

13

22

16

12

6

Other free streaming services

12

22

15

11

6

Other paid streaming services

1

2

1

2

1

Amazon (NET)

10

17

18

8

6

Amazon Prime free streaming content

8

14

15

6

4

Amazon video on demand (not free)

5

8

8

4

3

iTunes

8

17

12

7

4

Other

4

4

4

4

4

None of these

22

11

10

22

33

Source: Harris Poll, April 2013

And of those who do so, 62% confirm that they “binge view,” watching multiple episodes of a single TV show at a time.

Age plays a major role in having taken advantage of such own schedule viewing opportunities, continues the report, with 89% of Americans ages 18-29, and 90% ages 30-39 significantly more likely to have done so than those ages 40 and over.

Viewers with children under 18 in the household are more likely than those without to have done so (84% with, 76% without), largely driven largely by Netflix streaming content (40% with, 27% without) and Amazon online and streaming content (15% with, 9% without).

Among those who ever watch TV shows on their own schedule, 43% confirm having certain shows they watch as soon as they are available. These, too, are more common among those under 40.

For those with viewing priorities, the top factor in what they prioritize are seen as:

  • "My favorite / most enjoyable" (81%)
  • "I can't wait to find out what happens next" (53%)
  • "It depends on how much time I have to watch" (42%)
  • "I don't want to get behind and risk plot points being spoiled" (37%)
  • "It depends on my mood" (34%)

Women are more likely to be motivated by a desire to find out what happens next, while for men the decision is more dependent on their mood, and, only 18% identified a desire to discuss the show with friends, family and/or coworkers as a factor influencing their viewing priorities.

Among those watching TV shows on their own schedules, 62% report binge viewing. 50% binge on older shows or past seasons of current shows and 40% binge on current seasons of shows.

  • 18-39 year olds (78% ages 18-29, 73% ages 30-39) are more likely than those 40 and older (58% 40-54, 48% ages 55+) to binge view, with 40-54 year olds also more likely to do so than the 55+ set.
  • Those with children under 18 in the household are more likely than those without to binge view current seasons of shows (48% with, 37% without).

Ever Watch Multiple Episodes Of a TV Show At a Time (Base: Ever Watch TV On "Own Schedule")

Ever Binge View?

Total

Age

18-29

30-39

40-54

55+ 

Yes (NET)

62%

78%

73%

58%

48%

Yes, for older shows or past seasons of current shows

22

24

26

19

20

Yes, for current seasons of shows

12

12

12

13

10

Yes to both

28

41

35

26

18

Older shows (NET)

50

65

61

44

38

Current seasons of shows (NET)

40

54

47

39

28

No

38

22

27

42

52

Source: Harris Poll, April 2013

73% of binge viewers report television as the device they most often find themselves binge viewing on, followed distantly by computers (22%). However, 50% of 18-29 year olds binge on televisions and 42% on computers. Looking forward, the binge viewing trend shows signs of leveling off according to the projected data collected in the study.

In concluding, the report notes that for advertisers, the clearest impact of self-scheduled and binge viewing is that some of these viewers will be taking in contact on platforms beyond their reach, such as Netflix and Amazon's VOD services.

Content producers, on the other hand, have both positive and negative implications to explore. On the upside, the ability to quickly catch up on past seasons of existing shows could give more viewers the opportunity to jump into new episodes without confusion. On the downside, viewers watching when they choose, not when it airs, can play havoc with ratings.

 For additional information from Harris Interactive, please visit here.

 

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