Most Viewers Pick SVOD Over Linear When Show Is Available On Both

When a program is available simultaneously on a subscription video on-demand (SVOD) streaming service and a live TV channel, adult U.S. SVOD viewers are on average more than twice as likely to prefer the former option. 

But avoiding ads isn’t necessarily the main reason for preferring SVOD, at least among younger adults. 

Those are the takeaways from a survey conducted by the Aluma Insights media research firm in December among 1,947 U.S. adult broadband users who are in charge of purchasing media services for their household and watch SVOD services on TV. The sample was balanced to be representative of SVOD viewers and their households, according to Aluma. 

The younger the adult, the more likely they were to prefer the paid streaming service option. 

Only those 65 and older preferred to watch a new show on a traditional live channel: 37% for linear versus 28% who prefer streaming.

Those 55 to 64 were 1.4 times more likely to prefer SVOD over live TV, and those 18 to 24 were 5.3 times more likely to prefer the streaming format. 

Asked about their reasons for preferring SVOD, less advertising was cited by all groups, but older adults put more stress on that factor than younger ones. (The survey did not offer ad-supported streaming services as a third option or alternative to live linear.)

Younger respondents were more likely to emphasize that SVOD is the place where they already watch shows most of the time, that it allows for watching shows at their convenience versus on a schedule, and that it’s easier to find interesting content to watch than it is on live TV.

It is “telling” that even the 55 to 64 segment, who were middle-aged adults when Netflix launched in 2007, prefer SVOD, says Michael Greeson, founder and chief analyst at Aluma. 

“The results of our study are pretty straightforward. When networks consider where to debut programming to best reach younger adults, an SVOD-first strategy will work best,” he asserts. 

3 comments about "Most Viewers Pick SVOD Over Linear When Show Is Available On Both".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 9, 2023 at 8:17 a.m.

    Let me see if I get this correctly. Most young adults who have access to both linear TV and streaming and exactly the same show episode is available at exactly the same time via both methods of access ---and it's the same TV set---would prefer to obtain that show via streaming?

    Was that how the questions were posed? If, so, did the young respondents include in their thinking process how dificult it would be to sort through a number of apps to find that specific episode compared to merely  turning on their TV set at the appointed time via "linearTV" and sitting back to enjoy the show? Or are we really  getting not much more than another indication of the ongoing disparity between heavy viewing older and light viewing younger respondents about their orientation towards "linear TV" content, generally, vs what they watch via streaming?

  2. Michael Greeson from TDG, February 9, 2023 at 12:53 p.m.

    Hi, Ed.

    1. Yes, you did get "this" correctly.

    2. As to how the survey questions were constructed:  

    A.1  Imagine a show or movie is available at the same time on both a regular TV channel and on a streaming service—for example, at the same time on both the Disney TV channel and the Disney+ streaming video service, or on both NBC and Peacock.

    Which would you choose to watch? Select one.

    1 Regular live TV channel
    2 Paid streaming video service
    0 No preference

    A.2        IF A.2=1 OR 2  Why would you choose to watch a show on a INSERT D21 SELECTION instead of on a INSERT NON-ZERO ITEM NOT SELECTED IN A.1? Select all that apply.

    1 Less advertising
    2 It’s where I watch shows more often
    3 Prefer the interface
    4 Easier to search and find interesting content
    5 Higher quality of video (e.g., 4K versus HD)
    6 (IF A.1= 2) I can watch when I want instead of when the show is scheduled
    0 Other (optional, please specify)

    The formulations are inherently imperfect, but they sufficed for the current purpose.

    3. It's not clear precisely what the repondents were thinking when they answered the question, though I assume it related to the questions posed. 

    4. This question was not asked to simply regurgitate what is known about about "the ongoing disparity" between young and old viewers. (I've personally studied that issue since 2006, before Neflix launched on streaming. The Diffusion Group, my prior company, saw what was coming and wanted to get ahead of what we saw as an emerging trend.)  The question was asked because a major SVOD provider wanted to see if the relationship between age and preferred viewing source was linear or just a break between adults under the age of 45 and those 45 and older. Unfortunately, the data chart was not included in the release, or you'd have seen this.

    I always read your replies to article, as they are generally very thoughtful. In the future, if have a specific question about my firm's research, send your questions directly to me at

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 9, 2023 at 1:20 p.m.

    Thanks, Michael---always  glad to have such issues clarified.

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