TiVo Survey: OTT Viewing Time Approaching Live TV

OTT viewing time is starting to approach that of live TV, according to TiVo’s Video Trends Report for second quarter 2019 (chart above).

More than half (52.4%) of respondents to the North American survey reported regularly watching one hour or more of OTT-delivered content, compared to 65.8% reporting the same for live TV. Nearly half (46.8%) also reported watching an hour or more of DVD-ed content, and 41.5% said they watch an hour or more of sports across live TV, OTT and DVR.

Interestingly, the numbers reporting that they don’t watch regularly increased across all three: 19.3% say they don’t watch live TV regularly, up from 10.3% in 2018; 39.9% that they don’t watch OTT regularly, up from 27.8%; and 44.8% that they don’t watch DVR-ed content regularly, up from 25.4%.

TiVo, which has been conducting quarterly consumer video trends surveys since 2012, issues reports twice yearly. For the Q2 research, a third-party surveyor polled 5,340 consumers 18 and older in the United States and Canada. TiVo analyzes the data.

Respondents were asked about their use of a wide variety of services and devices (on a one-by-one basis), including linear pay TV, OTT, both subscription-supported and advertising-supported (SVOD and AVOD) streaming, and free social media streaming channels (e.g., Facebook, YouTube).

North American households now use an average of 7.2 entertainment services -- up from 6.3 average services per household reported in TiVo research in 2018, and averages of about 4 and 5 services, respectively, in 2016 and 2017.

Looking at linear TV, this survey found 83% of respondents still having cable/satellite service. While only 27% reported being  “very satisfied” with these services, that’s up 9.4% from last year — perhaps a glimmer of positive news for linear. Meanwhile, customers saying they’re “very satisfied” with vMVPDs (virtual multichannel video programming distributors) like Sling TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV decreased by 37%:


Among those who said they’re cord cutters, 85% cited the too-high price of pay TV as the reason, 49% said they were switching to using only an internet streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, and 24% said they were moving to using only free antenna TV.

While big SVODs by and large continue to report increasing subscriber counts, 30.5% of these respondents still say they have no such subscriptions.

Those who use streaming services indicated that they spend the most time watching SVOD, followed by vMVPDs, and least on the still relatively new AVODs. But free video from social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat garner the most individual views per week, and follow close behind SVOD in time spent:


At the same time, the results indicate stalling or declining use of vMVPDs. The percentages reporting using YouTube TV declined from 12% last year to 8.5% this year; DirecTV Now from 6.3% to 4.3%; and PlayStation Vue from 4.4% to 3.3%. Use of Hulu+ Live TV and Sling TV were basically flat at 6.7% and 3%, respectively.

Also, adoption of linear AVOD services like Pluto TV and Tubi TV is growing (now at 18.5% and 16.2%, respectively), while adoption of TV network sites and apps is slowly declining:


The most popular services “bundles” put together by consumers to get the types of content they want include Facebook, YouTube and Pay TV (cited by 40% of respondents); Netflix, YouTube, Pay TV (29.1%); Netflix, Facebook and YouTube (26.7%); free video (from network sites or apps), YouTube and pa TV (24.2%); free video, Facebook and YouTube (22.7%); and free video, Facebook and pay TV (21.2%).

When it comes to streaming devices, 34.9% said they don’t own one, while 22% said they use a device to access pay TV.

Smart TVs are most prevalent (27.6% of respondents), followed by Roku (21.3%), gaming consoles (20.1%), Amazon Fire Stick (17.7%), Google Chromecast (10.8%) and Apple TV (10.3%).

Asked which services they use to seek out content, respondents showed a clear preference for cable/satellite TV, SVOD services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and free YouTube videos.

Nearly a quarter (23%) said they’d like their channel guides to get a new format “categorized into groups of movies and TV shows.” But 44.6% said they don’t want their guides to change, and 32.4% said they want to keep their old guide and add a differently formatted one.

Unsurprisingly, half (50.7%) said they want the ability to search for TV shows and movies across different platforms.

The full report can be downloaded from TiVo’s site.

9 comments about "TiVo Survey: OTT Viewing Time Approaching Live TV".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 20, 2019 at 10:23 a.m.

    When nearly 1 in 5 viewers is no longer interested in linear TV, up from 1 in 10, it might be time to question the whole linear model.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 20, 2019 at 10:38 a.m.

    You wish, Douglas. "Linear TV" dwarfs OTT in terms of viewing time and will continue to be far ahead until OTT offers the same wide array of content that is only available on "linearTV". Sorry. That does not mean that OTT/SVOD wont continue to increaee its total share of viewing time---now about 10-15%. Also, "linear TV" content---and eventually ads---is now moving to OTT/SVOD in a big way---via Disney, Comcast, CBS/viacom, etc. What may eventually happen is that as more of these new services---and, probably, Netflix----offer ad-supported options that advertisers will move large portions of their premium content dollars into OTT/SVOD---albeit at much higher CPMs than what they are now paying. At which point, it matters less and less exactly how the content is delivered and more about how well the ads are targeted and how effective they are.

  3. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics, September 20, 2019 at 1:16 p.m.

    If TiVo measures all viewing to all sources on its devices, isn’t it a huge step backwards to get viewing data and viewing trends from surveys?  Why TiVo, why? 

  4. Jenny Gomez from TiVo replied, September 20, 2019 at 2:14 p.m.

    Hey Jack! Good point, and yes, we do capture viewing from ours and partner devices but we like to supplement what we do with that data with this bi-yearly survey. This also gives us insight into pieces of the industry we can't gain access to - network apps (who are usually walled gardens with their viewing data once consumers are in-app), OTT  services (same issue for most), etc. We just find it's a nice complement!

  5. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics, September 20, 2019 at 3:28 p.m.

    So does your device based viewing data show that online viewing is almost as much as your survey?  Why not report that along with your survey based insights instead of inferior viewing data?

  6. John Grono from GAP Research replied, September 20, 2019 at 11:33 p.m.

    Jack, I think you will find that they measure tuning/downloading and not viewing.   And those who have worked in video measurement recognice that tuning > viewing. 

  7. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics, September 21, 2019 at 1:28 a.m.

    Tuning, viewing. either way. The tuning data should correspond. Using survey based recall is far less reliable than tuning data. If it were not better advertisers and media companies could save millions by deploying simple recall surveys. What does TiVo tuning data say about online vs traditional tuning. Nielsen says digital is far less. I venture the TiVo data says much the same.  Let’s use survey data for what it is good at and tuning data for what it is good at. Using survey data as a substitute for tuning data is just bad research. 

  8. John Grono from GAP Research replied, September 21, 2019 at 1:47 a.m.

    Jack, first I agree that recall surveys are no substitute for data capture based measurement.

    What I was referring to was that the correspondence between tuning and viewing can be fraught.

    In a household TV viewing experience you only need one person viewing to generate a Household rating ... which is why it is not used any more. The TV system calls for regular verification of viewing. Only those verified viewers are credited to demographic ratings (e.g. People 2+).

    When you look at device streaming it is much closer to a 1:1 correspondence - how many times do you a group of people clustered around a smartphone watching something?

    But there are major issues as to what qualifies as 'tuned', especially with a 0-second threshold, or allowing off-platform swipes that trigger a server-call to count as viewing.

  9. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics, September 21, 2019 at 2:36 a.m.

    TiVo is not measuring swipes. My question remains. What does TiVo data say about online vs traditional viewing or tuning. I will accept either as better than survey data.   

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