Streaming, binge-watching gain in US: Survey

WASHINGTON (AFP) - American consumers are increasingly streaming television instead of viewing live broadcasts, often using services like Netflix for binge-watching, a survey showed Wednesday.

In the survey by research firm Deloitte, 56 per cent of consumers said they streamed movies at least once a month and 53 per cent said they did so for television programmes.

The survey found 45 per cent of viewing time was via live television for all of those surveyed - but only 28 per cent for the 14-25 age group and 35 per cent for those aged 26-31.

"The notion of consumers sitting in their living rooms to watch television shows at programmed times, especially among younger generations, is quickly giving way to a market of viewers using multiple devices inside and outside the home to consume content when and where they choose to watch," the study authors said.

"In 2014, there was a shift away from appointment TV to a large number of consumers binge-watching on their own schedules."

A total of 68 per cent of those surveyed said they had binge-watched, or viewed at least three episodes of a programme in a single sitting, and 31 per cent said they did this once a week.

"Today, binge-watching, and the ability to watch what we want, when we want, and where we want, is an exciting cultural phenomenon that is shifting consumer behaviours and attitudes towards curating an individual experience," said Gerald Belson, Deloitte vice-chairman.

The trend towards online viewership was especially notable among younger consumers.

In the 14-25 age category, more than 70 per cent said they preferred streaming television over other options, and 80 per cent said they engaged in binge-watching.

The survey also suggests troubles ahead for traditional pay TV such as cable or satellite. Three per cent said they had cancelled their pay TV subscription in 2014 and 7 per cent said they were considering this. Another 13 per cent said they had not subscribed in the past year.

In the survey, 90 per cent said they engaged in "multitasking" while watching television.

That included Internet browsing, reading, texting or other activities - with only a quarter of the activities related to the programme watched.

The report was based on a survey of 2,076 Americans aged 14 or older between November 3 and 19. No margin of error was provided.