PMG Digital Made for Humans

The Evolution of Media Consumption

3 MINUTE READ | May 15, 2015

The Evolution of Media Consumption

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Kristen Bennett

Kristen Bennett has written this article. More details coming soon.


Lately, I have been seriously considering dropping cable in favor of Netflix and the streaming features on my smart TV. And, apparently, I’m just another in a growing number of consumers who are having the same thought. TV may still be the primary way we are consuming media, but the landscape is evolving as consumption for other channels is growing.

TV has long been the channel that brands poured the large portions of their media dollars into, but that is beginning to transform as live TV viewership continues its slow decline. In fact, more and more households are choosing to drop TV altogether. About 2.6 million households are now “broadband only,” meaning they don’t subscribe to cable or pick up a broadcast signal, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report released in December 2014. While this number may seem small in scope, it is more than double the number of households that were broadband only in 2013, and that number will likely continue to grow.

If we are not watching as much traditional TV, what are we doing instead?  Here are a few channels that have seen growth with the decline in traditional TV viewership:

Streaming services

  • A staggering 40% of households now subscribe to a streaming service, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, which is up from 35% in 2013.

Multimedia Devices + Smart TVs

  • 13% of households have a multimedia device, such as an Apple TV or a Roku, which allows consumers to stream video apps and watch shows without cable. The same percentage of households have smart TVs, which have the capacity to stream apps like Netflix.

Online Video

  • Viewing of online videos on computers in particular has increased by approximately 4 hours per month from 2013 to 2014. In Q3 of 2014, viewers spent 10 hours and 42 minutes watching online videos per month.

Time-Shifted TV

  • More and more viewers are using DVRs to watch their television shows back at a time that is more convenient to fit their schedule.  Viewers spent 14 hours and 20 minutes per month watching time-shifted TV in Q3 of 2014, which is up from 13 hours and 12 minutes during 2013.

There is certainly no threat of traditional TV going anywhere anytime fast. But, given the historical data over the past few years, it is likely that the shift in media consumption will continue to move from traditional TV into other channels. This shift is a hot topic item that those in marketing and advertising need to keep a close eye on to ensure advertising dollars are being spent on the most relevant channels.

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