Streaming VOD Now Available In More Than Half Of U.S. TV Households, Study Finds


In what the Nielsen Company is calling “an important milestone,” half of all TV households now have access to streaming video on demand such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime – equal to the number of homes with DVRs.

“While DVR penetration has plateaued, SVOD penetration is growing,” according to Nielsen’s latest report on audience trends. “In first-quarter 2016, SVOD penetration equaled DVR penetration, with half of homes having access to each of these.” DVR penetration has held steady at 49%-50% of households since the fourth quarter of 2014, while SVOD has increased steadily in each of the past six quarters — from 41% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 50% today.

Combined, 72% of homes now have either a DVR or access to SVOD, up from 67% last year.

But despite the growing number of new-media options, it’s the oldest – radio – that still reaches the most Americans. According to Nielsen, 240 million American listen to the radio every month, compared with 226 million who watch live or time-shifted TV.

Of new technologies, smartphones have the largest reach, with 191 million Americans adults using them. It added that 81% of U.S. adults own at least one of the devices. Another 162 million surf the Internet on personal computers, while 106 million own tablets, and 61 million have game consoles.

“Changing consumer behavior is being driven by growth of technologies and services,” the report found. “Emerging technologies are showing growth in ownership while some older devices are experiencing declines or a flattening in ownership.”

The report found that 94% of all TV households now are wired for high-definition; 77% of households own DVD players; and 23% have enabled smart TV, which is the fastest-growing sector – up 43% during the past year.

Total media consumption continues to increase among adults – up one full hour a day in the past year. “Radio has the most consistent share of time spent across demographics,” according to the report, which also found that “the share of live TV increases with age, while the share of digital and TV-connected devices is highest among younger adults.”

On the demographics side, the report found that African-Americans, on average, spend more than 13 hours a day consuming media – up a full hour from last year. Of that time, more than half is spent watching live TV. Hispanics average nearly 9½ hours a day consuming media – about a third of which is spent watching live TV. AM/FM radio represents a fifth of time spent for Hispanics, while digital makes up one-third of the share. Asian-Americans spend 5½ hours a day on average consuming media – about 40% of which is spent watching live television.

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