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Survey: More video consumed on handhelds, PCs

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 7:25am
Brian Santo

Broadband users are increasingly watching video on their PCs or on handhelds. A full quarter of broadband users – largely younger consumers – watch TV content online or on handheld devices daily, or almost daily.

Meanwhile, SNL Kagan concludes the loss in total U.S. multichannel subscribers must be due at least in part to some consumers switching exclusively to over-the-top video, while a survey commissioned by Motorola suggests that premium content still trumps free over-the-air programming.

Weekly incidences of going online or using a handheld device to watch TV content rose from 34 percent in 2009 to 39 percent among broadband users, according to a study conducted by Horowitz Associates.

That's among broadband users only; only about 3 percent of total viewing is happening on these alternate platforms, meaning that the vast majority of viewing still happens in front of TVs.

Still, the trend is toward more video on more alternate screens.

The overall penetration of video-enabled handheld devices has reached 78 percent overall, including 84 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds and 94 percent among 15- to 17-year-olds. The report finds that 25 percent of broadband users watch TV content online or on handheld devices daily, or almost daily.

The survey reveals that already one in every 15 young people (7 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds) is currently considering cancelling their TV service. An additional 19 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds would consider canceling their TV service if more of their favorite content became available online – a result that dovetails with the findings in the Motorola survey.

This translates to 22 percent of broadband users overall who could, potentially, abandon pay TV in favor of alternative platforms.

"The data clearly show that when it comes to the next generation of multichannel customers, we should be concerned about the ongoing and future value of the video/pay-TV elements of our service offerings and the strategies in place to deal with it," notes Howard Horowitz, president of Horowitz Associates. "The penetration and usage of alternative viewing technology is reaching a tipping point, and the measurable impact on how the TV product is viewed will inevitably follow."

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