Given subscribers’ many options to time-shift TV programming with DVRs and on-demand technology, the idea of viewing content live can tend to bring up ideas of yesteryear. However, the reality is people still love to hit the couch and surf content that’s not time-shifted.
That fact is highlighted in Altice USA’s first “Altice USA Data Flash Review,” which was released on Thursday. It analyzes the 2016 viewing trends of its Optimum TV subscribers and uses the operator’s Total Audience Data platform from approximately 11 million Optimum and Suddenlink household set-tops across a nationwide footprint.
“Optimum customers love watching television and live tune-in continues to be the most popular way they choose to access their favorite content,” Paul Haddad, global chief data officer at Altice, says. “We have also seen customers take advantage of options to watch programming on their own terms, with viewing up substantially on our DVR platform.”
According to the data, Optimum TV subscribers throughout the New York tri-state area were once again heavy live TV viewers in 2016, with households tuning in more than eight hours per day while also spending more than an hour daily viewing time-shifted content, with DVR being the most preferred tuning mode.
In 2016 overall, Altice USA reports the most popular ways to watch TV included live with 91.9 percent of viewing, DVR representing 4.9 percent, and VOD comprising 2.7 percent. Compared to 2015, DVR-based viewing by Optimum customers rose more than 9 percent to an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes per day, representing the most popular time-shifted or on-demand viewing method, according to the Altice USA data. Hours spent viewing VOD content remained unchanged at just more than 90 minutes per day.
The fun and games of the recent U.S. presidential election also showed up in the data. Altice reports news programming tune-in increased more than 4 percent over 2015, with viewership of politically focused programming increasing by 88 percent over last year. Interestingly, the stalwart that is sports programming dropped, according to the Altice data. Hours spent tuned to sports programming fell 4 percent compared to 2015.
Altice is careful to underline the privacy factor around this data, saying that its census-level tuning data is maintained on an aggregated, anonymous, and protected basis and individual viewing information is not shared.
An infographic overviewing the data is here.